Antonio Conte has already admitted that he agrees with the football pundits and sports betting operators about Chelsea not being favorites to win the English Premier League title. This year, the battle for the title has now widened to include six teams, and seems to destined to be tightly contested although Sportingbet football predicts it will be a two horse race between Manchester City priced at 23/20 and Manchester United at 5/2. Conte’s Chelsea are actually priced 17/2 fourth favorites after Spurs to retain the title.
Conte has been in this situation before, if one can recall the start of the last season, Chelsea were not favorites to win the title and surprised everyone with their determination and belief. However, this season, one would have expected the club to strengthen its squad; especially when looking at the transfer activity of both Manchester clubs. But it seems that Chelsea have been struggling to sign the players that Conte requires, and to make matters even worse; Diego Costa’s future is in turmoil and the board sold Matic to Manchester United.
So far this summer
In fact, this summer so far, Chelsea has signed five new players, which includes Morata, Rudiger and Bakayoko; however, the club has allowed 31 to leave. To be fair most of these have been youth players, but nevertheless what it does mean is that Conte now has ’16 players, without the goalkeepers’ and they are involved in four competitions. So it is no surprise that Conte has always stressed the importance on new signings.
It has been reported Conte is at loggerheads with the Chelsea board as to the type of players that need to be signed. The club favors youth, as they focus on the resale value of the player, whereas Conte wants to bring in experienced players in the late 20s early 30s who have relatively no resale value for the club. In spite of this, the Italian has already stated that he is committed to the club and will be giving 120% every day; whilst hoping that further signings will follow.
It has been reported that Chelsea is now interested in defender Joao Cancelo from Valencia. This 23 year old Portuguese international has impressed Conte for some time; and is valued at £25 million.
There is a continued effort to sign Tottenham’s defender Danny Rose, with The Blues happy to double his present salary. Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is now not just being courted by Liverpool. Chelsea have now entered the picture to sign the player, and are hoping that a £50 million bid will be enough to see off Liverpool.
There has also been a £25 million bid for Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain which was rejected by Wenger, and Chelsea fans are hoping that maybe a £30 million offer might be able to sway Arsene to part company with the player.
The midfielder Danny Drinkwater has been added to the wish-list, as a result of Matic’s departure to Manchester United and Tiemoue Bakayoko being out due to injury. It has also been rumoured that Chelsea will try to persuade Leicester City with an offer in the range of £25 million to let the player go.
Chelsea FC have other players that on the list like Ross Barkley, Renato Sanches, Alex Sandro, Ivan Perisic and Fernando Llorente; so there are lots to do before the summer transfer window closes.
The bottom line is that fans of the South London club and Conte will be hoping the Board acts quickly to ensure their manager has the resources to mount a realistic title defense as well as make themselves proud in the other tournaments.