Antonio Conte isn’t far away from taking over the reigns at Stamford Bridge and it appears, on the whole, most Chelsea fans are excited for the Italian’s arrival.
He’ll bring with him a wealth of managerial experience and a tough regime, as we’ve seen during his tenure at the national side. And another thing the Italian might bring along with him is his favoured three-at-the-back formation.
It’s worked to devastating effect at the Euros so far, with Juventus trio Christian Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Georgio Chiellini all proving how well it can work when deployed correctly.
Italy have had fantastic width provided by two rampaging full-backs with Manchester United’s Matteo Darmian impressing too. But should Conte decide to bring the formation with him to the Bridge, he’ll need some players that could deploy the formation effectively.
So with that in mind, here are FIVE players that could do just that…
Why look any further than Leonardo Bonucci, who, as we’ve seen so far at the Euros, has been one of the standout performers for Italy.
He is defensively sound and has a great range of passing, as we saw when he launched a huge cross-field ball to provide Italy’s assist for Emmanuele Giaccharini against Belgium.
He would come at a cost, but with John Terry soon packing up and Kurt Zouma suffering injury at the end of last season, it could work.
Dani Alves is one of the best attacking wing-backs in the world and anyone that says he’s “getting on a bit” should take a step back.
At 33 he played over 45 times for Barcelona last season and is a free agent after announcing his departure from the Catalonian giants at the end of last season.
Although the defensive three are important, it’s the wing-backs that make this formation work and Alves is still one of the best in the game.
Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the hottest properties in world football and he’s expected to move on from Napoli this summer – cue a Chelsea move.
At 6ft 5″ tall, he’s one of the most physically imposing centre-halves around and he has also been deployed at full-back when needed too- making him an ideal candidate to slot into a three-back formation at Chelsea.
Alex Sandro is another buccaneering full-back renowned for his box-to-box style of play.
Formerly of FC Porto, the Brazilian has since signed for Juventus where he’s struck up quite the partnership with the trio of Italian centre-halves.
Whilst he suffered a slight injury partway through this season, he’s been extremely impressive and gives a definite attacking edge at whichever club he’s been at.
It’s not just his name that is a bit of a handful – this Greek international is too.
He has broken into the first-team at Borussia Dortmund after a £7million transfer from Werder Bremen and has gone from strength to strength since.
He is an extremely competent defender and could fit the bill at Stamford Bridge if Conte chooses to opt with the three-back formation.