Much has been said and written about Chelsea since they became Premier League champions last season.
One of the key talking points has been the future of Diego Costa, a situation that has been rumbling on for a good few months now. What has arisen from this is obvious tensions between Antonio Conte and the Chelsea hierarchy.
Conte has been very vocal in the media about the need for further recruitment at Stamford Bridge. Will the Italian’s hard line approach see him come out on top or will the board lose patience with Conte before long?
Well things didn’t go to plan on the opening day of the season as Chelsea lost 3-2 to Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
A Gary Cahill red card after 14 minutes cost the defending champions as Burnley raced into a 3-0 half time lead. They did fight back in the second half but Cesc Fabregas went the same way as captain Cahill after picking up his second yellow of the afternoon. The game however did highlight Chelsea’s need for further new faces. The defence looked extremely shaky after losing Cahill and the subs bench only saw 3 household names included.
With the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United recruiting well in the close season, the latter acquiring Nemanja Matic from Chelsea, Conte has been left bemused by the work done behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge to strengthen his squad as they look to defend their title. It certainly seems that games are being played between the fiery Italian and the board as Conte appeared to insinuate that he wasn’t happy Matic was allowed to leave the club, especially to rivals Manchester United. Surely, if he was unware of the deal happening or it was taken out of his hands, he would have kicked up more of a fuss or even looked to have left the club.
The Chelsea board have always played the transfer market so to speak. Buying players but also looking to sell them on if they can make good profit, it is the way to run a business after all. They’re not slow to dismiss managers who do not fall into line though, we’ve seen it before with Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti. They may have met their match against Antonio Conte though. The Italian is known to be a volatile character at times. The issue is he has just won them the Premier League title and surely deserves the best chance at retaining it. This can only be achieved through good transfer business so the hierarchy will have to bring in further recruitments.
That being said, Chelsea will need to prove their worth on the pitch, starting at Wembley against Spurs. The Burnley defeat was bad, even though they only had 10 men for the most part and they’ll be expected to bounce back against Mauricio Pochettino’s charges. One things for sure, it may be results that cost Conte in the end, not the lack of recruitment.