Chelsea has been on the hunt for a successor to Jose Mourinho for quite some time now. With the news that Pep Guardiola is off the market, the Blues can turn their attention to other options, and there are plenty available.
Diego Simeone appears to be staying at Atletico Madrid for at least the near future and the Londoners’ options are becoming increasingly limited. Chelsea are rumoured to have met with Italian national manager and former Juventus gaffer Antonio Conte last December.
The 46 year-old has expressed his desire to resign from the national side and talks are apparently supposed to pick up between he and the West London club before this season ends. We could see Conte at Stamford Bridge by the end of this campaign, or possibly after the European Championships this summer.
Here are FIVE reasons why Chelsea can’t let Antonio Conte slip through their fingers before the start of next season.
It’s evident that Chelsea are not short on talent at the moment – they have some of the most sought after players in all of Europe. But, a familiar pattern we’ve seen in recent years is that Chelsea are quick to let players leave. Meanwhile at Juventus, Conte was able to establish a consistent core group year in and year out with players like Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini.
Chelsea have loads of talent to use, with players like Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Oscar, but there are always rumours of their departures. The Italian could bring some consistency and win with a core set of stars for years to come as he did with the Old Lady.
Conte is not shy to change up formations based on the situation that each match presents. In his time he’s used a modified 4-4-2, a 4-1-4-1, an untraditional 4-2-4 and a 5-3-2 for defensive purposes. He is known for his effective use of a 3-5-2, the formation he used to win three straight Serie A titles.
Many have praised the Italian national coach as an elite tactician. He recently received the Gazzetta Sports Award for Coach of the Year across all Italian sports leagues, and has won three Serie A Coach of the Year awards as well.
Conte claims to trace his influence back to his time as a player under the great Arrigo Sacchi. Sacchi said in praise of his former player, “Conte belongs to the group of masters. He is the conductor of the orchestra. The problem with coaching the national team is that you have no time, so it takes a terrific talent for synthesis. Conte is the best coach in Italy and he proved it.”
It’s no secret that Mourinho makes enemies with at least a few players everywhere he coaches. There were some apparent differences in opinion between the Special One and a few players like Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas to name a few. Conte has the ability to motivate his players and still keep a sense of ‘likeability’ as well. There has been nothing but praise from his former players, as Pirlo said that the only reason he is still playing for the national team is because Conte is in charge. The Italian manager could bring the Chelsea talent together and motivate them to win trophies on a consistent basis.
Similar to his ability to create an overall in sync side, he crafted one of the best back lines in all of international football. During his trophy winning years at Juve, the chemistry in the defensive third was vital to their success. The core of Giorgio Cheillini, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Martin Cáceres and the legendary Guianluigi Buffon saw the side only concede 24 goals in 2012/13, 23 in 2013/14 and only 24 again in 2014/15 in Serie A play.
Chelsea have excellent young prospects to look to in their defence with the likes of Kurt Zouma, Matt Miazga, Baba Rahman, and Ola Aina. Not to mention one of Europe’s top young goalies in Thibaut Courtois. With Conte as the Chelsea gaffer, the Blues’ back four could see success shutting down attacks for years to come.
Conte knows what’s required of clubs to win trophies. As a player he won five Serie A titles, four Supercoppa Italiana trophies, a Champions league title, a UEFA Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Intertorto Cup and an Intercontinental Cup all for the Old Lady. In his short career as a manager, he has already won a Serie B title, three Serie A titles and two Supercoppa Italiana trophies as well. Chelsea need someone who can successfully lead them in title contention year after year, and Conte could be there man to help them do just that.