After a massively disappointing 2015/16 season Chelsea are in a good position to bring the Premier League trophy back to Stamford Bridge this time around with Antonio Conte leading his men through a very impressive campaign.
Chelsea missed out on Europe this season but the Champions League will once again be in their sights next term. Conte’s side have been almost unbeatable this year, the website for betclic lets you have a punt on if the Italian coach will bring the ultimate prize back to west London?
Although it is hard to see where the team could be improved, there will be players leaving at the end of this campaign and the rigours of a Premier League season mean that strength in depth will be vital for a successful European trophy quest. But who might be arriving in the summer to make the new Chelsea side a strong bet for the Champions League?
Diego Costa was rumoured to leave in January after interest from China and it would not be a surprise if the Spanish international left at the end of the season. Even without Costa leaving, Conte would want to strengthen his attacking options and Celtic’s Moussa Dembélé has caught the eye this season.
Although shining in the Premier League is massively different to starring in Scotland, the Frenchman has experience of playing here. Dembélé has been outstanding in Glasgow and would love another crack at the Premier League.
The Chelsea midfield has been exemplary this season with the re-emergence of Victor Moses and the introduction of N’Golo Kanté supplementing an already impressive central group. But Conte will undoubtedly have money to spend and he could invest in a few attacking midfielders.
Monaco’s Bernardo Silva has been heavily linked with a move although the Portuguese star does share an agent with Jose Mourinho so that may not be as straightforward as Conte might hope.
Other options include PSG’s Marco Verratti and Atalanta’s Franck Kessié. Chelsea have already had a bid turned down from the surprise package of this season’s Serie A and a move in the summer could well be on the cards.
David Luiz, Azpilicueta and Cahill have been on top form at the back all season but Conte will want to add to the squad and there are already some likely targets in mind.
Monaco’s Djibril Sidibé and Tiemoué Bakayoko have both been watched by the club and the latter has already turned down a contract extension.
But Conte may prefer to look closer to home for a defender who has been very impressive since moving down from Scotland at the start of last summer. Virgil van Dijk has marshalled the Southampton defence while also contributing at the other end and would make an excellent back up – and maybe even a first team regular – if he swapped the south coast for west London.
Not If, But Who?
Even with the massively impressive performances all over the pitch this season, there is no way that Conte will not want to add to his side in an attempt to win the Champions League in 2017/18.
With a few possible big name exits it will be even more important for the Italian to get the balance of the squad right to compete against the very best in Europe.
Conte has already proved he is an excellent and inspirational coach but he will need to spend wisely if he is to finally win the Champions League with Chelsea.