A summer exodus is on the cards at Stamford Bridge. After what has been a poor season in west London, the futures of many of Chelsea’s stars remain uncertain.
Diego Costa has been linked with a move back to his old club Atletico Madrid. Eden Hazard seems set for a move to PSG, while Thibaut Courtois also eyeing up a move. Player of the Year, Willian, is speculated to be subject to a £50m switch to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande, too.
Throw the controversial departure of John Terry come the season’s end into the mixing bowl, and the Blues could find themselves in a state of crisis.
Incoming manager Antonio Conte must assess the potential damage caused by a mass evacuation, and line up his transfer priorities early to ensure his outfit improve on this season’s dismal showing.
FFC investigates where the current Italy boss should recruit this summer at the helm of his new Chelsea side ….
Keep Diego Costa. That surely must be Conte’s top priority. A fans’ favourite at the Bridge, the enigmatic Spaniard is a proven goalscorer and one of Europe’s top forwards when motivated and fit.
Find reinforcements. This is the former Juve man’s second priority. Although many a Chelsea fan would argue Loic Remy can do the business for the Blues, the Frenchman is both chronically injured and likely to leave this summer in search of first team football.
Bringing in a second quality/injury-free striker to provide support for Costa is essential as Chelsea have looked a weaker outfit without the former Atletico Madrid man – even with Bertrand Traore impressing when given the opportunity.
Nemanja Matic has collapsed more spectacularly than Greece’s economy, with the Serbian midfielder looking a mere shadow of the player who made last season’s PFA Team of the Year.
The sort of form Matic has displayed this season is likely to earn him a one way ticket out of London for the second time in his relatively short career, so the Blues will need a replacement.
Reports suggest Roma’s very own ninja Radja Nainggolan may be close to a switch to the club, which in itself would more than solve the problem. If not, however, Conte will need to look elsewhere.
Liverpool are the latest from a host of clubs to be linked with a summer swoop for Chelsea’s number one Thibaut Courtois.
Conte is fully aware of a likely departure, and will be looking at Asmir Begovic closely as soon as he relocates to England.
Courtois was so pivotal in last year’s title success, so gathering up a like-for-like replacement if the Belgian were to leave is vitally important.
Despite the fans’ exasperation at club captain John Terry not being offered a new contract, Chelsea are set to lose their former boot boy in the summer.
Replacing a man who has served nearly two decades in the centre of Chelsea’s defence is no small feat, and is likely to be more of long term job than one for this summer.
However, recruiting an experienced centre half to support young stars Kurt Zouma, Matt Miazga and Jake Clarke-Salter in their progression is a must.
With an excess of 30 players currently out on loan from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea already have plenty of resources of their own to toy with.
Previous Blues stars out on loan – and given painfully little chance to impress at the Bridge – include Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and, perhaps most aggravatingly, Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne.
With Chelsea having made the grave mistake of letting talents such as those above slip through their fingers too many times before, Conte should be looking to those already owned by the club as he attempts to build a squad for next season.