It is a damning reflection of the culture at Chelsea Football Club that rumours are already surfacing as to who will be replacing Antonio Conte this Summer. A mere 11 months ago, Conte was stood pitch side at The Hawthorns watching his team clinch an assured 1-0 win over West Brom to become Premier League champions.
Last season, winning the Premier League seemed highly improbably after a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in late September. Only after a stroke of tactical masterclass from Conte, switching the team’s formation to 3-5-3, led to a change in Chelsea’s fortunes. Thereafter, the records toppled for Chelsea; the club equalled the Premier League record for consecutive wins (13 [since toppled by Manchester City]), fewest draws in a season (0) and a record number of wins in a season (30).
The story for this season, however, has been markedly different. Having limped out of the Champions League to a far stronger Barcelona side, Chelsea returned to the Premiership in forgettable fashion. After a series of mediocre results, a ruthless Spurs side punished Chelsea’s inability to capitalise on their first half chances with a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge, the first time a Tottenham side has won at the ground in 28 years. Chelsea look set to finish this year outside of the top 4.
Chelsea’s short-termism has been ruthless but effective tactic. In the space of just ten years, Chelsea have changed management on nine occasions and it appears likely that this season will be Conte’s last. Below is a list of Chelsea’s rumoured targets for the Summer:
- Luis Enrique
The former manager of Barcelona, who guided the team to the treble in his first season and the double in the second, Enrique has emerged as a frontrunner for Chelsea next season. After leaving Barcelona in April 2017, Enrique said: “I need to recover. I’m not thinking about other teams. It will be a year to recover, but now what’s left to do is end the season with all our objectives achieved”. Perhaps an Abramovich-sized pay cheque may encourage the 46-year-old to return to the fold.
- Massimiliano Allegri
Should Allegri arrive in Chelsea, it would not be the first time that Conte’s compatriot has taken the reigns from the current Chelsea boss. In 2014, it was Allegri who replaced Conte at Juventus and according to a report from Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, terms have been agreed ‘in principle’ for a summer move.
- Diego Simeone
Simeone has been in charge of Atletico Madrid for nearly seven seasons and the Argentinian has been linked with a move to Chelsea in the past. Having signed a two-year extension on his contract last summer, the move now seems less likely.