Chelsea fans are enduring a nerve-wracking summer and have no indication of what direction the club is headed in.
It’s been more than a month since the 207/18 Premier League season ended and there’s still no definitive word on the future of manager Antonio Conte or owner Roman Abramovich.
Conte still manager, Sarri not yet confirmed
Conte is expected to leave the club off the back of a disappointing campaign at Chelsea, with ex-Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri set to replace him. However, the Blues were reticent to pay Conte’s lofty compensation package on top of a fee to hire Sarri and weren’t prepared to recruit players until the managerial situation was finalised.
With Carlo Ancelotti having taken over as Napoli’s new head coach this summer, there’s no suggestion Sarri could stay at the Stadio San Paolo. But given the 59-year-old left the Serie A giants more than four weeks ago, questions will rightly be asked why Chelsea have stalled up until now.
With Conte due a large compensation package from the Blues should he avoid resigning, Chelsea were always going to have to make the first move. Negotiations have taken longer than they would have hoped and now they’ve fallen behind their rivals when it comes to recruitment – Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have been busy this summer.
Champions League failure financially damaged Chelsea
Abramovich’s future at Chelsea is uncertain too. The Russian tycoon halted plans to expand Stamford Bridge after his UK Visa expired and has been operating on a sell-to-buy policy for some time, rather than heavily investing as he did in his earlier years.
The Blues are expected to lose some valuable assets this summer which could hamper their chances of getting back into the Champions League next season, meaning another financial hit could be to come. Chelsea have finished outside of the top-four in two of the last three campaigns and could be losing three key players to make matters worse.
Eden Hazard recently admitted he’s keeping his options open and will only commit to a new deal at Chelsea when he sees what players they’ll bring in. The Belgian forward still has two years left on his deal at the Bridge, but Chelsea may have to cash in if they fear he could leave for nothing in two years.
Thibaut Courtois could follow his countryman out of the door. The talented shot-stopper has rejected a contract extension and plans to see out the remaining 12 months of his deal. Chelsea can’t afford to lose him for nothing given he’s one of the best ‘keepers in world football, so a sizeable price tag could be slapped on his head this summer.
Willian is another player with an uncertain future. He reportedly had a fallout with Conte and could be on his way out as a result. Chelsea will struggle to replace all this talent in one summer and may not have enough in the squad to finish fourth in 2018/19. It’s looking a mess at Stamford Bridge.