It seems like our search for a “long-term” replacement for Jose Mourinho has taken another step towards being finalized, as owner Roman Abramovic has apparently approved of the appointment of Antonio Conte as our head coach, according to various sources. The Metro even goes on to say that Roman has even informed both our players and staff about the eminent arrival of the Italian.
Speaking about our staff, it is speculated that current assistant manager Steve Holland will remain at the club in his current position, and Christophe Lollichon will continue as goalkeeper coach.
As for the players, the media has whipped up the predictable storm that surrounds changing managers, with many players already labeled as “favorites” of Conte, while others were not so fortunate.
Gonzalo Higuain for example, has been reported to be a target that we are “racing” to sign by the ever reliable Fichajes. The Spanish magazine took little regard for Diego-El Guvnor- Costa’s return to form and basically recycled rumors from a few months back. Now I’m not saying that he’s definitely not coming, but I would not recommend betting on it.
Another striker allegedly eyed by us is Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi. This rumor is also not something new. We’ve been “chasing” the Argentine for about 12 months now, and one could see little to no sense behind this rumor just by looking at Icardi’s form this season. Personally I hope that this is not true because we would be absolutely better off with Diego leading the line and Traore as his backup, and signing an expensive, non-world class striker will not help our team in any way.
And we move on to midfield rumors, which make much more sense after the club shipped off Ramires to China and didn’t replace him. Of course the public reason was that Ruben Loftus Cheek was to be given a chance to make an impression, but our academy player has not seen a minute of play time since the sale of our Brazilian, so one would be lead to conclude that the club probably wanted to give whichever manager who gets the Chelsea job a clean slate and the ability to reshape the squad as much as possible, and the tabloids have been quick to notice. And now that Conte is all but confirmed as the Chelsea manager, the media jumped to link us with a host of Serie A midfielders. The first name on the list is an obvious one. Paul Pogba has been many of our fans’ dream signing for quite some time now, and his former mentor being here would apparently help our case. But if we don’t get him, I’ll be fine with having RLC develop under the tutelage of Conte instead.
Then there are Roma duo, Radja Nainggolan and Miralem Pjanic, both of whom have been recently linked with us and both make the most sense. They would probably cost 25-35 million Pounds each, according to recent market prices. But if my analyses is of any worth, I would say that we should either go big (Koke or Kroos maybe) or go home (Loftus-Cheek or Baker) because if we keep signing half-brilliant players, we’ll keep getting half brilliant results and thus, never be able to compete with the Barcas and Bayrens of this world.
All in all, we are most definately not going to have a quite summer like the one we’ve had after we’d won the league last season, but I sure hope that a noisier summer does not mean that we are going to let go of the common sense that we’ve had in the recent past, and aside from media rumblings, the club seem to be headed for the sane direction.