Chelsea’s managerial situation has dragged on over the summer, but the Telegraph report that Maurizio Sarri is set to be the new man in the Stamford Bridge hotseat and that he has already established his top transfer target.
They claim that Sarri wants to engineer a swift reunion with Dries Mertens, whom he worked with at Napoli, at Stamford Bridge, despite the fact that his £24.5m release clause expired last week.
His Transfermarkt valuation of £27m is not much more than that but it is still pricey for a 31-year-old and the Telegraph also claim that Antonio Conte wanted to secure the services of the Belgian international but the Stamford Bridge hierarchy did not sanction it.
If Sarri is able to succeed where Conte failed and land Mertens, there will be consequences and we’ve taken a closer look at what exactly those might be for both Chelsea’s existing squad and potential new recruits…
Although it would remain to be seen which formation Sarri would prefer at Chelsea, if Mertens did join, the Blues would have the Belgian, his international team-mate Eden Hazard, Willian, Pedro and the returning Ruben Loftus-Cheek all competing for attacking midfield slots.
That means that at least one has to make way and while there is reported Manchester United interest in Willian, former Barcelona man Pedro could also depart.
His best years are behind him and he has never really settled at Stamford Bridge. He may well wish to make one final move, potentially back to Spain, to get first-team football.
The Telegraph also report that Chelsea hope to secure the signing of Jean Michael Seri as soon as their managerial situation is resolved.
So, if Sarri is secured and his top target Mertens is signed – which would be a major double swoop which signifies Chelsea’s ambitions to return to the top of English football, Seri will be enthused enough to sign on the dotted line.
It has been a frustrating summer of inactivity at Stamford Bridge but the arrival of Seri, Sarri and Mertens within a short space of time would surely get their mutinous fans back on side and excited for the season ahead.
As it stands, with the fans still unsatisfied, the managerial situation unresolved and the underperforming squad that oversaw the slump out of the top four last season undisturbed, Chelsea have a very slim chance of getting back into the top four.
But, a major display of ambition and a decisiveness in the transfer market could galvanise the club and Chelsea are a dangerous animal when the whole club is pulling in the same direction.
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