How Antonio Conte's departure impacts Chelsea’s transfer activity
A new Premier League season is less than a month away. As you’d expect, Premier League clubs are falling over themselves trying to make the right recruitments. Meanwhile, Chelsea is only just getting on the act. The Blues recently cut ties with Antonio Conte, a man who poured out his soul to the club for the last two years.
Letting go of Conte seemed to drag on forever; players were in the dark regarding who would be dishing tactical instructions for the coming season. This was so, irrespective of the fact that the Italian gaffer managed the first couple of training sessions after players returned from holiday.
At long last. the axe has been brought down. Conte will sure be hard done by. He had turned down a chance to take charge of Italy earlier this year, choosing to stick with Blues – obviously, they weren’t interested in returning the favour.
In all fairness though, the former Juventus manager won’t be classified a failure at Stamford Bridge. He brought home at least one title for every year he spent at the club. The former Italy boss, however, blew his tire when he decided to go toe to toe with the Chelsea board regarding transfers.
Conte’s perceived lack of backing from the Chelsea hierarchy turned into frustration. That frustration snowballed into his team’s form. The title defence was bottled and made worse by finishing outside the top-four. Giving Chelsea’s antecedents you can say it has been coming for the 48-year-old.
One Italian coach is indeed out of the way with another Italian rumoured to be incoming, but there’s still plenty ground for Chelsea to level in the transfer market.
Who could leave with Conte?
A few big players – Willian, David Luiz and Thibaut Courtois. Willian has been a major target for Barcelona. The Catalan kings are understood to have returned with a second bid for the Brazilian worth £53 million. Meanwhile, Courtois is eying a move to Spain to be with his family. Those transfers can easily be stalled if Chelsea plays hardball.
David Luiz is primed to become an integral figure once more after making a full recovery from his knee problem. Had Conte stayed, Luiz might’ve found the door.
We can infer that Chelsea will try to ensure that Conte remains the only big-name departure of the summer. This is paramount if they are to mitigate spending while remaining a title-contender. His exit is also sure to calm the nerves he flared in the dressing room. Who doesn’t want to start on a fresh page?
Four big names – Russia World Cup star, Aleksandr Golovin; Napoli midfielder Jorginho and Juventus defender, Daniele Rugani. All of these names are realistic targets the Blues can now pursue with a new manager set to take charge in the coming days.
If that manager is Maurizio Sarri, then Jorginho is even more likely to join Chelsea and reunite with his former boss. This is me sounding like the British media. In truth, I’d be surprised if Chelsea shell out nearly £60 million to sign the Napoli midfielder given their newly-found tight-fistedness in the transfer market. But they can get Golovin. The CSKA Moscow playmaker didn’t do a bad job promoting his talent at the World Cup.
Just like with Jorginho and Manchester City, Chelsea is facing competition for Golovin’s signature with Juventus, but the Blues are more likely to nudge the Italians who have already bled their purse in signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
Chelsea dilly-dallied in the transfer market last season, it haunted them. Lessons must’ve been learnt. With Antonio Conte now history, the Blues are expected to conclude their business more quickly this time.