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Is Conte a slave to the brand?

Monday 24th July 2017
This summer, Antonio Conte has been linked with a combination of the best performing & most hyped players from 2016-17. Yet, he needn't buy them all. Instead, he could show some faith in his underutilized squad members.

The Italian's tendency to speak his mind makes him the darling for sensationalists seeking a story. Fans are constantly clicking to see what he's said now. His public frustration has been unprecedented for Chelsea managers under Roman Abramovich. No doubt, there's a rift widening at Stamford Bridge. Maybe Conte's transfer policy is affected by the pressure to continue winning or face the axe.

Full back woes?

Alex Sandro emerged as one of the best left backs in the world after a double-winning season with Juventus. With a £60 million price tag, I genuinely wonder if he's worth it.
In Marcos Alonso, Chelsea have one of the best around. The Spanish full back committed less than a foul per game (0.8) in 2016-17. Sandro commits twice as many. Alonso also made three tackles/interceptions per match and was among the highest scoring defenders in the league. Not bad for a former Bolton & Sunderland reject. Conte should stick with him. If he doesn't, the 26-year-old will wonder what he has to do to hold down a job. Given Sandro is the same age, being replaced by the Brazilian would be a kick in the teeth.

Benjamin Mendy would have been more understandable after his breakout season with Monaco. He's off to Manchester City, though.

On the right flank, Chelsea was linked with another haute couture player. Unfortunately, Dani Alves chose Unai Emery and Paris Saint-Germain over either Conte or Pep Guardiola. There's no doubt he would've been an upgrade with nearly twice as many tackles and interceptions than Victor Moses. Additionally, he made more key passes than the rejuvenated Nigerian. Now that the veteran has moved to the French capital, Conte may just have to accept the Blues' right wing-back berth will be fought over by Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Never quit your job 'til you've lined up another

When news broke the Italian had tweeted Diego Costa that he was surplus to requirements, I wondered if Conte was crazy. What was he thinking? Were I a Blues fan, I'd be irate.

Costa's goals earned Chelsea 15 of the 93 points amassed. How could he not be needed or "in your plans"? The only fans happier with the decision than Arsenal's will be Atletico Madrid's if the naturalized Spaniard returns to the Vicente Calderon. Without a proven striker on the roster, Conte allowed teenager Tammy Abraham, fresh from hitting 20+ goals in the Championship, to be sent on loan to Swansea.
In the end, they've only gone and bought Alvaro Morata. In all fairness, that is a great signing. Chelsea have a Champions League winning striker scoring a goal with every three shots taken and who, at 24, has four years on his fellow Spaniard. That's right, Costa is only 28. He just looks like a grumpy old man. To give the Spaniard cover with Premier League experience, the Blues have kicked the tires on Fernando Llorente and Christian Benteke.

Maybe Conte is a crazy genius. I don't know. Let's wait to see how Morata settles.
Tyrone Chambers

I know most people either love them or hate them but I a massive fan of Manchester United. I'm not afraid to speak the truth. Writing it as it is, bold enough to say it in the way no manager or player could say in public. I write about all things football but I love music as well, both listening and playing, keen drummer.

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