Many Chelsea fans across the globe will be doing their best to forget about the failings of the 2015/16 Premier League season, after starting dreadfully and ultimately finishing in an extremely poor, 10th place. Their manager at the time however, has gone- Mourinho is now at the helm of Manchester United, with Chelsea opting to bring the former Juventus coach, Antonio Conte, to Stamford Bridge.
Conte’s arrival could spark a revival of sorts for Roman Abramovich’s club- many fans are hoping the Italian lets the younger generation have their opportunity to produce the goods in the Premier League or Champions League and not just minor Cup competitions like in previous years. The likes of Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Dominic Solanke and many others will hopefully be the ones ready to impress, but with that being said, many of the said youngsters could also find themselves sold, or out on loan to gain experience, by the final day of the transfer window.
There’s also the small matter of returning players that have been away on loan and new players that have / will be signed throughout the current transfer window. Victor Moses has really struggled to make an impact in a Chelsea shirt, and found himself loaned out for the majority of his contract, but the former Crystal Palace man has really hit the ground running so far this term, impressing the Chelsea faithful aswell as Conte himself. In terms of new boys through the door- N’Golo Kante has signed for a staggering £30 million from the current Premier League Champions, Leicester City. Conte will be hoping the midfielder can bring energy, passion, determination and sheer grit to his side, especially if Italian is going to be using an extremely aggressive formation of 4-2-4.
Kante’s statistics speak for themselves- the Frenchman just had an extremely strong European Championships and previous to that, he won the Premier League with huge outsiders, Leicester City. On average, he managed 4.7 tackles per game, along with 4.2 interceptions. ‘Who Scored’ gave the destructive midfielder an overall average rating of 7.61 last season in League games alone, while Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic managed 7.14 and 6.98 respectively.
There are of course, still rumours as to who Chelsea could be signing next. It seems Kante and Batsuayi aren’t going to be only two players through the door. Speculation has Conte linked to other huge names such as Edison Cavani, Romelu Lukaku and Kalidou Koulibaly- all of which would add an incredible amount of depth to the already world class squad. It’s frightening to even think about how dangerous of a partnership Cavani / Lukaku and Costa would be in a two man attack for the Blues, while Koulibaly would be seen as an ideal player to rotate between Gary Cahil, John Terry and Kurt Zouma.
How could Chelsea line up next season? Well the possibilities are endless. Below, two possible lineups have been constructed with the current squad included along with possible new signings. As mentioned earlier, there could of course be players leaving the club, especially those linked heavily with moves away- Nemanja Matic is one that springs to mind initially, along with Juan Cuadrado, who has never really settled into life at Stamford Bridge.
The depth is unbelievable. These are lineups without the youngsters mentioned earlier in the article, but with the amount of games Chelsea play throughout one single season, it could be plausible that the likes of Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek and Solanke get game time in this team. Injuries occur, rotation happens- I wouldn’t be too downbeat just yet!
Ultimately, this is a new era for Chelsea. I personally believe the likes of Ivanovic and Terry are coming to the end of their tenure at Chelsea and will be replaced in the very near future. The foundations for change are almost certainly there and the future is just as bright as the present. It will be interesting to see whether Conte can lift the confidence in the dressing at Stamford Bridge and drag them to a higher League position than that of last term.