Five potential summer signings for new Chelsea coach Conte
Lee Gormley | April 4, 2016
Five possible signings for Conte at Chelsea
After an underwhelming season so far which has seen Jose Mourinho dismissed from Stamford Bridge for a second time in his career, Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of current Italy boss Antonio Conte as the man to replace temporary coach Guus Hiddink this summer.
Following the news of the Italian’s three-and-half-year deal in London, here are five potential signings that Conte could move for in the summer market, with wealthy owner Roman Abramovich never shy to hand over plenty of transfer funds for rebuilding.
Despite replacing Petr Cech as Chelsea’s number one goalkeeper, with the former having since departed for London rivals Arsenal, Thibaut Courtois recently threw his future into doubt at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgium international shot stopper is now being strongly linked with a switch back to Spain, after performing brilliantly during his time with La Liga title contenders Atletico Madrid, following comments made during the international break.
“I do not say yes, I do not say no,” stated the goalie regarding whether he would commit long-term to the club, which is 4/1 with Coral for a 2016/17 Premier League triumph.
“I still have three years on my contract. We must see what Chelsea want. It is true that it [this season] has changed me.
“Until now I had always won a trophy every season. We hope that next season will be better.”
Southampton stopper Forster is the name being mentioned as a possible replacement between the Stamford Bridge sticks, and Conte may seek the former Celtic goal guard as his new number one with his top-flight experience at Southampton.
The towering England international recently featured in the friendly encounters with Germany and the Netherlands, while he is proving to be crucial to the Saints’ season run-in since returning from a serious injury in January.
Dominant Juventus centre back Bonucci worked with newly-appointed Blues boss Conte at the defender’s current club for three years before linking up again for the Italian national set-up.
With that close connection, the obvious link with Chelsea was bound to be brought up, though it’s a move that could well occur as current Blues skipper John Terry looks set to depart after 18 years of senior service.
“He’s the coach who took me onto the next level, right from the day he arrived at Juve,” Bonucci recently stated.
“We had a few disagreements at the very start, partly because I wasn’t in good shape, but he taught me a lot on a tactical level. If I am one of the best today, part of that is down to him.”
The 28-year-old defender had been previously linked with Manchester City and was quick to dampen any talk of a big-money switch to England, but as always, the right offer from Chelsea could easily persuade the Turin titan to part with his Serie A duties.
This disappointing campaign has proven the Blues need strengthening in the backline, especially in the full back positions, with wide players potentially a key area where Conte will seek to bolster on his arrival after his Euro 2016 attempts with Italy this June and possibly July.
Roma wideman Florenzi has already been tipped as a summer target for last season’s top-tier champions and, with Conte set to take up the Stamford Bridge hotseat, the Italy international’s future could lie in London.
The 25-year-old utility player, who can feature at full back or in midfield, could fit the bill perfectly for his current national boss at Chelsea, though his Roma roots run deep, having graduated from their youth ranks to become a regular starter.
Florenzi scored one of the all-time great Champions League goals earlier in the campaign against reigning European champions Barcelona and has made well over 30 outings for the club he adores, but a high-profile move to Chelsea could be tempting to link up with Conte and further his career.
Juventus and France midfield ace Pogba is undoubtedly the hottest property in European football right now, with all the continent’s big clubs hoping to lure him into their ranks, and his already mammoth price-tag is surely set to rocket after Euro 2016 on home soil (11/4 to win).
Conte was the man who brought this French prodigy to Turin during his reign with the Old Lady and they worked together to lift back-to-back Serie A crowns in 2013 and 2014, before the respected coach took charge of his country.
Pogba has already won six major trophies with Juve and looks set for further success this term ahead of what could be a massive summer for him and his nation, but could this sought-after midfield maestro make a stunning switch to Stamford Bridge?
Under Conte the mercurial Frenchman has already proven he can clinch silverware success and a reunion may be alluring after this summer’s showcase event, as Chelsea look to boost their central areas, with Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar looking far from their best this current campaign.
Inter Milan skipper Icardi is an interesting option for Conte once he settles into new surroundings, with the Argentine attacker having enjoyed another impressive scoring season with 13 Serie A goals.
The 23-year-old is one of the finest finishers in Europe and would provide Conte’s Chelsea with a genuine attacking threat for next season, with current forward Diego Costa’s future still shrouded in doubt, while loanee Radamel Falcao looks certain to return to France.
Loic Remy has played a bit-part role this season too, while Brazilian loan man Alexandre Pato has only recently burst onto the scene, meaning Icardi would almost be guaranteed a pivotal spot in the Blues ranks under Conte’s guidance.
Having so far only been rewarded with a single international cap in his career, despite scoring for fun season after season, Icardi may also see a switch to England’s challenging top-flight as the key to bolstering his chances of catching the eye for Argentina as well.
With Conte set to take up his new role in the summer, next season’s Premier League will see many of the world’s best coaches go head-to-head, as the Italian joins all of Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Claudio Ranieri, possibly Rafael Benitez and potentially Jose Mourinho too, and he could be thrusting some of the above players into action in blue.