Now that former Juventus manager and current head coach of the Italian national side Antonio Conte has officially been announced as Jose Mourinho’s ‘permanent’ successor at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea can finally begin work on re-establishing their once formidable dominance among the English top-flight ahead of the 2016/17 domestic campaign.
Several top-class acquisitions will obviously look to be sought across the upcoming summer transfer window, but as the Blues will nonetheless find themselves negotiating without the prospect of Champions League football on the table for the new league season, such a demanding task may prove somewhat easier said than done.
But as Chelsea already have Colombian international and former Fiorentina favourite, Juan Cuadrado, currently out on loan amid the Italian Serie A again with league-leaders Juventus, should Antonio Conte look to reaffirm the South American’s place at Stamford Bridge as soon as arriving among the Premier League next season, or does Cuadrado simply have no future left at Chelsea?
Well, even for those who don’t admittedly pay close attention to the Italian league proceedings with every passing week, it really shouldn’t take much to notice just how effective and technically gifted Juan Cuadrado can prove on his day.
Despite being rather unceremoniously cast aside by Chelsea and Jose Mourinho last season, the 27-year-old attacking midfielder has nonetheless served to impress whilst on loan at Juventus in 2015/16, and is reportedly open to extending his stay within the Serie A based on his prior lack of game-time down at Stamford Bridge.
And whilst the Blues arguably didn’t require the services of Juan Cuadrado throughout the course of last term’s efficient title-winning campaign, a player of the Colombian’s quality could have easily improved Chelsea’s overall attacking potency across large portions of the current season.
When it comes to providing a constant creative outlet for his teammates inside the final third, displaying sheer technical prowess on most given occasions out on the pitch, and simply cropping up with his fair share of goals and assists whenever handed the all-important responsibility to make things happen for his respective manager, the determined 27-year-old has certainly failed to disappoint in 2015/16.
Cuadrado was never given a fair crack at the whip down at Stamford Bridge and alongside the relatively recently departed likes of Romelu Lukaku, Andre Schurrle, Kevin de Bruyne and fellow Serie A loanee, Mohamed Salah could have easily helped Chelsea stave off the subsequent embarrassment that has undoubtedly afflicted the Blues this season.
With Jose Mourinho now absent from the first team set-up at Stamford Bridge however, Antonio Conte can theoretically offer Cuadrado a much-needed opportunity to start afresh within the English top-flight next term. The newly installed Chelsea boss is reportedly keen on keeping the Colombian international among the Premier League for a good while longer and could even single the skilful 27-year-old out as one of his key contributors among his chosen Blues starting XI in 2016/17.
Yet as Chelsea seemingly no longer find themselves in a strong negotiating position after this season’s distinct calamities and shortcomings out on the field, the task of tempting Juan Cuadrado away from league-leaders Juventus may prove somewhat difficult.
It now looks increasingly likely that Chelsea have blown their chances of watching the highly coveted South American do his thing down at Stamford Bridge next season, regardless of how much Antonio Conte may admittedly admire the 27-year-old Colombian for his recent exploits among the Italian game.
If the Blues ultimately fail in the quest to hold onto Juan Cuadrado this summer, then major lessons will simply have to be learnt by the Blues in future transfer endeavours.