Chelsea’s brilliant recent form in the Premier League will not alter manager Antonio Conte’s plans to heavily restructure the squad.
The Blues have won five games in a row, without conceding a goal in that time, since Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation last month. Their return to form was solidified with a vicious 5-0 thrashing of Everton last weekend which briefly restored them to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since winning the competition in May 2015.
According to the Telegraph, Conte has identified areas that need strengthening within the squad as they prepare not just for an assault on the Premier League title race but a return to the Champions League next season.
Conte had earmarked a number of targets in the window, a sizeable amount of whom he failed to land, but will make a play for a number of those players again over the course of the next two windows.
The midfield, as per the report, is believed to be of concern for Conte. Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kanté have been playing well in the central midfield roles but beyond that the squad depth looks worryingly thin. Cesc Fabregas will almost certainly be allowed to leave the club in January while John Obi Mikel hasn’t played one second of competitive action under Conte this season.
Much will depend on how Conte plans to use Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah but in all likelihood he will pursue a transfer for another midfielder within the next two windows. Whether or not that means a fresh approach for Roma’s Radja Nainggolan, apparently his biggest target in the summer, remains to be seen but the Telegraph report makes a point of naming both the Belgian international and Inter’s Marcelo Brozovic.
The defence is another area that the Stamford Bridge boss could look to invest in, although the long-term options appear slightly healthier. Under the first choice trio of César Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and David Luiz are Chelsea captain John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic. Both are out of contract in the summer and neither are likely to be offered new deals but the return to fitness of Kurt Zouma and return from loan next summer of Andreas Christensen adds greater depth to the squad.
Again, though, a desire for an experienced head could result in a bid for Juvnetus’ Leonardo Bonucci. The Italian international nearly ended up at Manchester City in the summer and does appear willing to leave the J Stadium if the terms are right.
It is unknown whether prominent targets Alessio Romagnoli and Kalidou Koulibaly are still on the club’s radar, but the former’s Champions League push with Milan and the latter’s new contract at Napoli would make any deals unlikely – especially in January.
All in all appears that despite seemingly having balanced the Chelsea first eleven, Conte wants to reshape to whole squad to better suit his needs.
Read More About: alessio romagnoli, andreas christensen, antonio conte, Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea, david luiz, gary cahill, john terry, john terry john obi mikel, kalidou koulibaly, Kurt Zouma, leonardo bonucci, Premier League, radja nainggolan