LONDON - Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is investigating whether there is a growing problem between manager Antonio Conte and the players.
The Russian billionaire is increasing his involvement in the day-to-day running of the club following the resignation of technical director Michael Emenalo on Monday.
The Daily Mail understands Abramovich, who visited Chelsea’s Cobham headquarters last week, has already made enquiries over the relationship between Conte and his squad.
Having fallen out with Diego Costa last season before selling him in the summer, question marks are being raised over Conte’s relationship with David Luiz. The Brazilian was axed from the squad that beat Manchester United on Sunday.
Despite Conte’s insistence that the decision was tactical, it is understood the axe came after Luiz questioned the Italian in training last week.
But while Abramovich is not questioning Conte’s handling of the Luiz situation, the latest stand-off has raised concerns of a rift between the manager and his squad.
Abramovich knows all about the problems that can be caused by a rift within the club.
Jose Mourinho was sacked in 2015 due, in part, to a split between himself and the players.
In confirming Mourinho’s dismissal two years ago, Emenalo admitted there was a ‘palpable discord’ between the Portuguese and the squad.
Abramovich is seeking to discover if there is a similar problem with Conte, particularly after the two high-profile spats with Costa and Luiz.