History seems to be repeating itself at Chelsea.
After winning the league only a month ago and with Champions League football to look forward to again, you’d think the Blues faithful would be excited for the new season.
But it appears to be uncertain times instead at Stamford Bridge, with the latest reports that Premier League Manager of the Year Antonio Conte may be about to depart the club.
Di Marzio has reported that a lack of transfer activity – possibly stalling over a fee for Romelu Lukaku – as well as the treatment of top scorer Diego Costa by Conte has led to disagreements between the manager and the board.
It also appears the Italian wants more control at the club after proving himself in his first year in England.
The Italian enjoyed an immense debut season, winning the Blues’ fifth title by seven points with a squad that had finished a disappointing tenth-place the season before.
More impressive was that he managed the feat without signing any of his preferred targets in the summer, with Rory Smith revealing he missed out on Radja Nainggolan, Kostas Manolas and Leonardo Bonucci.
Conte instead adjusted, bringing in the highly-successful N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso and the returning David Luiz, as well as inspiring a tactical shift to get the best out of players like Victor Moses.
At most other clubs, the job he has done would see the board backing the manager and his ideas – especially in the transfer market.
But this doesn’t appear to be the case at Chelsea are reportedly stalling on the asking price for Lukaku while no other targets have been brought in.
It’s a similar story to what we’ve seen before at Stamford Bridge, with Jose Mourinho suffering the same problem.
After their 2014/15 title success, the Blues failed to strengthen or add significant depth. Indeed, the only signing that went on to break into the first team was Pedro who only came at the end of August.
The Portuguese was sacked before even the halfway point of the season with Chelsea languishing in the bottom half.
It can be traced back even further than that, with Carlo Ancelotti only managing to strengthen his title-winning side with Ramires and Yossi Benayoun in the summer of 2010. Such was the decline in the season after, the Blues shelled out a combined £70m for Fernando Torres and David Luiz. Neither bedded in well and the Italian was sacked despite Chelsea finishing second.
Even as far back as his first spell you could see the signs of Roman Abramovich tightening his purse-strings as Mourinho complaining “When class one eggs are not available you have a problem.”
As someone who has pumped hundreds of millions into the club you can’t blame the Russian for wanting them to be more self-sufficient, but it doesn’t wash with the turnover of managers under his spell.
After all, if they hire a manager like Conte under the pretence of building a squad in his image, they have to back him by signing his players.
If not, we could see a similar scenario to when the Italian left Juventus when they didn’t back him financially as he looked to challenge in Europe.
No matter how well this Chelsea side has done, Conte knows it needs new personnel to challenge in Europe and in the Premier League. He has also shown he is principled and stubborn enough to leave if he doesn’t get his way.
With the future and one point looking so bright, Chelsea fans will be desperately hoping the past doesn’t repeat itself again.