Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is already under fire for his side’s poor start to the season, and being widely criticised over the sale of Nemanja Matic to rivals Manchester United plus the ongoing debacle concerning forward Diego Costa.
But Conte is looking to answer his critics in the best way possible – by splashing the cash and bringing in three top class players – all of whom currently ply their trade in the Premier League.
First, and most notably, Chelsea are preparing to take unsettled star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from London rivals Arsenal, with around £35 million likely to be offered to tempt both club and player into the move. Oxlade-Chamberlain only has one year left on his current contract and has so far refused to sign a new one, suggesting he feels his next step may be away from the Emirates Stadium.
Conte will like his direct, pacy running as he looks to provide more supply to new striker Alvaro Morata – and Arsenal may just feel like cashing in rather than potentially losing their man for nothing next summer, although they will be reluctant to sell to a Premier League competitor.
Secondly, a move for want away Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk is being lined up. The player has been long associated with a move to Liverpool, but the Merseyside club have dithered and stalled since being reprimanded for their initial approaches – so much so that they now appear to have cooled their interest.
Van Dijk though looks determined to leave the Saints for pastures new, and Conte will want to provide competition and options for his central defensive pairing, with Gary Cahill and David Luiz flattering to deceive recently. Chelsea may have to pay for Van Dijk though, with £60 million being the fee banded about for him.
Thirdly, Chelsea are stepping up their pursuit of Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, who would look to be a direct replacement for Nemanja Matic, especially whilst Tiemoue Bakayoko continues his recovery from injury. Even should he recover sooner rather than later, Conte would still like to bring Drinkwater in, again providing cover, options and competition for the defensive midfield pairing he likes to play, along with ex-Leicester star N’Golo Kante, allowing the likes of Hazard, Fabregas and Pedro to have more freedom in the attacking third.
This looks very likely to happen soon, with Conte anxious to deflect attention away from Matic’s excellent start to the season in a Manchester United shirt.
One loss in the first game of the season does not equal a club in crisis, but the defending Champions currently have a lot of questions to answer, with Spurs up next on what is a tough opening schedule, and their main rivals seemingly in much better state than the Blues.
CHELSEA F.C – NEXT 6 PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES
- vs Spurs (A)
- vs Everton (H)
- vs Leicester City (H)
- vs Arsenal (A)
- vs Stoke City (A)
- vs Manchester City (H)