Chelsea Need To Act Quickly Under Antonio Conte
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on April 4, 2016
After a long wait, Chelsea have finally unveiled Antonio Conte as their new manager on a three-year deal and if the club want to get back to where they feel they belong, they must not waste any time.
In truth, the club have most likely already got some deals for new players over the line. Conte being Jose Mourinho’s successor at Stamford Bridge has been one of the worst-kept secrets in football and targets such as Roma’s Radja Nainggolan, who Conte will know very well given his Italian background, have been in the pipeline well before today’s announcement.
It is not revolutionary to say that planning and getting things done early is more likely to work than a panic buy and Chelsea themselves have proved that in recent years.
According to Diego Costa’s biography The Art of War, the deal to bring the Brazilian-born Spanish striker to Chelsea had been in the pipeline for over a year before it was confirmed in mid-July of 2015. When he finally arrived in west London Costa was an immediate success. He scored 20 goals in his 26 league games for the Blues and found the back of the net seven times in his first four matches.
By contrast, last summer six of Chelsea’s ten signings were not done until part-way through August, after the season had started, and none of the other four players (Nathan, Asmir Begovic, Joseph Colley and Danilo Pantic) were bought with the intention of being first-team regulars this campaign.
Unfortunately for Conte and co. Manchester City have acted even quicker in hiring their new boss for the 2016-17 campaign although Pep Guardiola arguably has a bigger task on his hand than Conte does.
Yes, Chelsea have had a much worse time of it however their title-winning year last season as well as their post-Christmas form suggests that the players are of top quality and the revival under interim manager Guus Hiddink shows that the decline in latter 2015 was mainly due to a broken relationship with Mourinho rather than talent fading away. All they need is some fresh blood in some places and they could be revitalised.
Guardiola on the other hand has to re-build a whole club. City have stagnated since their last league title two seasons ago, finishing eight points behind Chelsea in 2014-15 and, barring a miracle, they will not win the Premier League this time around either. In addition, their spine of Vincent Kompany (29), Yaya Toure (32), David Silva (30) and Sergio Aguero (27) is ageing so the ex-Barcelona coach will need a mass overhaul of players in the transfer window.
Conte has experience of being organised, being a typical Italian if you will. Juventus had finished in seventh, a position Chelsea may find themselves in in May, the season before he joined the Old Lady and, after acquiring 15 new faces, he transformed them into Scudetto winners again.
If Chelsea are to return to the top of the Premier League tree, Conte will need to do the same again.