Roman Abramovich has offered Antonio Conte a huge financial incentive for delivering Chelsea’s second Champions League triumph.
The Blues owner is counting the cost of missing out on a spot in Europe’s elite club competition next term after a disastrous 2015-16 campaign.
A shocking start under Jose Mourinho left the Premier League title holders way off the pace and replacement Guus Hiddink was unable to close the gap on the top four.
The loss of Champions League football is expected to cost Chelsea as much as £45million when broadcast and matchday revenue are factored in.
Hiddink’s spell as interim manager is due to come to an end this summer and Conte was this week confirmed as the club’s next permanent manager on a three-year contract.
His salary is understood to be worth around £5m a season at Stamford Bridge and the Italian is looking to restore Chelsea to their place at the top of English football.
Should the Azzurri coach achieve that aim, or at the very least secure the Blues a spot in the top four, Champions League football will return to the Bridge in 2018-19.
Abramovich covets European glory over all other trophies and is believed to have added a £5m bonus clause into Conte’s contract if he can lift the famous trinket.
Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola said: "I haven’t spoken with the owner in quite some time but one thing is certain - Chelsea are important to him.
"Conte’s hiring happened because Abramovich wants to win the Premier League and the Champions League.
“Conte must marry his footballing ideas with a different league, culture and country.
"He won’t have any problems as they will have watched what he did in Turin and with Italy.”
Conte is keen to put his own stamp on the Chelsea squad and has already handed the club a list of his preferred transfer targets.
However, a lack of Champions League football for next season means the Blues are likely to have to pay inflated fees and wages to attract players to west London.
Manchester United faced similar difficulties after David Moyes failed to qualify for the competition and was sacked by Old Trafford chiefs.
Rob Wilson, a sports finance expert from Sheffield Hallam University, recently discussed the implications of Chelsea’s failure to book a European spot.
He said: "Not being in the Champions League also means you have to work much harder to get top-class players, which generally means paying them more in terms of wages.
“Just look at what Manchester United had to do when they were out of the Champions League with the signings of Angel Di Maria and Falcao.
"Chelsea were ahead of the game in many ways with financial fair play.
“They've moved away from Abramovich piling in lots of his own personal cash to a more sustainable business model where they're selling players to bring others in, and offsetting some of the additional cost against new TV deals.
"I'd imagine that will continue, they're just going to have to work a lot harder if they're not in the Champions League.
"I'd imagine they'll bring in somewhere between £50m to £80m from player sales and spend upwards of £200m on signings so that the net spend is quite conservative compared with the other teams in the league.”
Video: Watch our profile of new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte...