Last season was a dream debut campaign for Antonio Conte as Chelsea boss. His Blues team won the Premier League title in a relatively comfortable manner and looked set to build on that triumph in the coming season.
Conte even survived a Diego Costa tantrum in January that threatened to derail the Blues whole campaign.
However, it seems that things are no longer rosy in the Italian’s garden. Reports of doubts about his future in England have now emerged.
The Daily Mail claims that Conte’s main gripe at the club has been the lack of transfer activity so far this summer. This perceived lack of activity has reportedly caused tension between the Blues boss and transfer chiefs Marina Granovskaia and Michael Emenalo.
Look set to miss out on Romelu Lukaku
It seemed inevitable that Everton striker Romelu Lukaku was returning to Stamford Bridge this summer. Conte is a big admirer of the Belgian striker. The player himself has always professed his love for the Blues.
However, yesterday media reports suggested that Everton had accepted a bid of around £75million for their star striker from Manchester United. Some reports even suggest that he has had a medical ahead of completing a move to Manchester.
The aforementioned Costa is expected to leave the club this summer. The striker’s former club Atletico Madrid are the favourites to sign the Spanish international. It seemed Chelsea were planning on Lukaku being his replacement, even if a lot of Chelsea fans did not like the thought of the big Belgian returning to the Bridge.
It seems the champions will have to change their plans. Torino’s Andrea Belotti and Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata are reportedly alternate options to Lukaku.
Chelsea have not strengthened their squad
It is still relatively early in the transfer window. However, most clubs have returned for pre-season training or will in the next week or so. You could understand if Conte was annoyed that the club have not signed anybody other than former City ‘keeper Willy Caballero.
The likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and even Everton have brought players for big money. No doubt that will continue, yet Chelsea struggle to get deals completed.
One deal that seems to have hit a snag is the £35million signing of Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. The young midfielder looked all set to sign for the club. However, the Blues are reportedly keen to sell Nemanja Matic before signing Bakayoko.
They have agreed on a fee with Roma for centre-back Antonio Rudiger. However, signing a centre-back is unlikely to be Chelsea’s biggest priority this summer. A new striker and an alternative to Marcos Alonso at left wing-back seem to be the main issues that need addressing.
Chelsea’s perceived inactivity is likely to be making people at the club nervous. The champions know that their main rivals will be strengthening this summer. Conte is obviously keen to build on last season.
From the outside, looking in it does not appear as if the Italian boss is getting the support he needs to improve his squad this summer. Maybe this could be enough to push him closer to the exit door at Stamford Bridge.
The second favourites for the title next season
Despite winning the Premier League title last season, Chelsea are not the favourites to win the league in the coming season, they are the second favourites at odds of 7/2, behind favourites Manchester City.
Chelsea were strong last season. However, to continue the development of the team the Blues needed to add quality players to their squad this summer. Conte probably knew that fact better than anybody did.
There is still plenty of time before the Premier League kick-off for Chelsea to strengthen their squad. However, until the Blues start bringing in quality players I do believe there will be question marks over Conte’s future with the club.
Will Antonio Conte be Chelsea boss at the start of the new season?
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