The 45-year-old left Juventus in a surprise move in July, leaving behind a squad with which he had won three straight Scudetti and established a Serie A record for points.
Max Allegri was immediately brought in by the Bianconeri to take over for the former midfielder, while Conte’s future hung in the balance for nearly a month.
In mid-August Conte was announced as the successor to Cesare Prandelli with the Azzurri on a two-year deal with an eye towards Euro 2016.
To begin with, the Italian’s departure from Juventus was something of a mystery. Conte had previously confirmed he was staying, only to leave the day after pre-season training began.
This drew the ire of some sections of the Old Lady’s support, while it was speculated that his departure could have been due to disagreements with management on transfer policy.
At any rate, Conte made his choice – and publicly said that he felt deep down it was time to make his exit from Turin.
In the background, however, there were goings-on unrevealed even before the ex-Bianconeri captain decided to vacate his post in July.
Conte told La Reppublica on Friday that he had options on his hands, with a particularly intriguing offer arriving from the Premier League.
He said: “Last year I had several offers. There was one from a very big English team, but as a matter of respect I never told anyone.
“I decided to continue with Juventus. That didn’t last very long, but that’s another story.”
Cruising towards a third straight title with Juventus, Conte’s stock was at an all-time high near the end of last season, with the only knock against him a lack of European success.
Conte looked a natural choice for the role with his passionate style and relative youth, which could’ve potentially given him longevity at Old Trafford.
The role of course ultimately went to Louis van Gaal, who was confirmed as the new United manager in May, set to take over after the World Cup.
With the Italian’s latest revelation, however, it seems entirely plausible that the job was offered to him first, at a time when he believed his commitment to Juventus would carry on.
Given the firm coaching position of the Premier League’s other top clubs at the time, it is difficult to see the offer having come from elsewhere.
Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho were all set in their roles, not living under threat of being cast off for a new hire.
United, meanwhile, were undertaking a mass search for the man to lead the club back to glory in the aftermath of initial struggles in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Perhaps Conte will make his way to England at some point down the line, but for the time being United are van Gaal’s ship to right, the Azzurri Conte’s
There’s every chance that the Red Devils tried to get the Italy boss once, though whether they attempt to again in the near future may hinge on van Gaal’s own success in Manchester.