Five reasons why Chelsea are already playing catch up in the Premier League
Blues are currently in limbo
The new Premier League campaign won’t kick off for several weeks, but Chelsea fans should already be worried about what lies ahead.
The Blues finished fifth last season, a mighty 30 points behind champions Manchester City.
And with the battle for the top four tougher than ever, the West London side can’t afford to lose further ground.
But all the signs suggest that’s exactly what’s about to happen.
When will Conte go?
It seems to be an open secret that Antonio Conte will not be in charge of Chelsea next season. This has been on the cards for some time, but the Italian remains manager of the club.
Chelsea will need to pay a reported £9.5m compensation package to be rid of Conte.
Then there’s his replacement. Napoli have already confirmed Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager, but Maurizio Sarri is still under contract at Naples. That will cost the Blues another £3.5m.
In truth, it’s all a bit of a mess. And until it’s sorted, new players won’t be coming in.
A Hazard in waiting
Like Conte, Chelsea’s star man Eden Hazard appears to be done with the political shenanigans and toxic atmosphere at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian has been heavily linked with Real Madrid, and his departure would be a major blow to Chelsea’s hopes.
There aren’t too many players of Hazard’s quality Chelsea could turn to.
Speaking of Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are in bother there too when owner Roman Abramovich pulled the plug on the proposed redevelopment of their ground.
The redesign would have put Chelsea up there with the big boys in terms of venue presence and stature.
As it is, the Bridge remains somewhat higgle-piggeldy and dated. Unlike their rivals’ new home…
Tottenham and Arsenal are making waves
With the two Manchester clubs and Liverpool dominating the top three last season, Chelsea were left fighting for fourth with near and unloved neighbours Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
The latter are each entering significant summers. Spurs are about to move into a long sought-after and seriously impressive new White Hart Lane, while Arsenal finally did what they had to do and parted ways with Arsene Wenger.
Spurs’ new home should allow Daniel Levy to stretch his purse strings, while Arsenal have already brought in Unai Emery as Wenger’s replacement.
The Gunners have made a number of shrewd signings too in Bernd Leno and Stephan Lichtsteiner, with more expected to follow in the near future.
Top three could stretch away
Man City were a class above the rest last season. And though they haven’t made any significant signings yet this summer, it’s unlikely Pep Guardiola will allow them to stumble much next term.
The only teams to get close to them last term were Manchester United and Liverpool.
And that pair have laid down a couple of markers already in the off-season. United have announced highly-rated duo Fred and Diogo Dalot.
Similarly, Liverpool have been busy too. The Anfield outfit signed Naby Keita last summer pending his arrival this term, and they’ve brought in Fabinho from Monaco.
It’s clear that neither side have any intention of battling for the top four. They both want the title.
So while five of the top six have all made positive moves one way or another this summer, Chelsea have stood still.
They’re still trying to get rid of their manager, they’ve shelved their stadium plans and they haven’t made a single signing. All in all, this is a summer of discontent in West London.
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