This summer, Chelsea’s first under the management of Antonio Conte, has been more about evolution, rather than revolution.
The 2015/16 season saw Chelsea fall far short of expectations, succumbing to a 10th place finish as Leicester romped home to a first ever Premier League title win. Antonio Conte has since been installed as first team manager, and he has slowly been tweaking and changing his first team squad in order to best purpose it for the task at hand.
His primary goals have already been achieved; after a slow start to pre season, his Chelsea side really found their form towards the tail end of their fixtures – and that will bode well going forward. The signing of N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi was also very important – but the job is not done.
With the new season less than two weeks away, and the transfer window set to close shortly thereafter, Antonio Conte is running out of time as he looks to fire Chelsea back to the top of the Premier League table, and he must act quickly.
Here are THREE things that Antonio Conte MUST do to turn Chelsea in to title contenders…
The most immediate issue that Chelsea fans have noticed regarding their side this summer is the distinctive lack of squad depth at hand.
At the forefront of this is in the Chelsea defence, with just John Terry and Gary Cahill the only two fit first team central defenders.
There is a similar issue up front, which is further compounded by rumours linking Diego Costa with a move away this summer.
Any title winning side must have back-up players that are capable of putting in a performance when called upon; and Chelsea simply do not have the squad depth.
The further into the campaign that we get, the worse and worse that this issue will get.
There have been continuous rumours throughout the summer surrounding the future of several Chelsea players, some of which many would describe as part of the spine of the club.
In the context of this, players like Oscar, Diego Costa, Nemanja Matic and Thibaut Courtois have continuously been linked with moves away from the club, and Antonio Conte MUST ensure that the future’s of these players are sorted by the end of the summer.
New contracts are a surefire way to cement the future of a player at the club, but equally as important is recognising if a player wants to leave the club. Conte must bring the best out of his squad, and a large part of that is down to squad harmony – if a player is unhappy at the club that will only bring the morale of the side down.
He must sell players that want to leave and retain players that are interested in having long term futures at Chelsea Football Club.
Whilst fans are always focused on the present, Conte’s task is not just to get Chelsea competing at the top of the table this season – his real task is prolonging the Chelsea threat in the Premier League.
Planning on a short term basis and signing plays as short-term fixes is an approach that several of the 10 managers that Chelsea have had in the last decade have tried, and they have all met the same fate.
Antonio Conte MUST look to utilise young players, sign players with potential, and refrain from signing players that are already past their peak.
He has shown signs that he is keen to do this so far, but he must make sure that he continues this trend going forward.