Chelsea boffins are already thinking about
the next season and there is a strong likelihood that Maurizio Sarri may not be
in charge of the team for the 2019-20 campaign. After a disappointing set of
results throughout the campaign, Chelsea find themselves once again in a top
four race and not in the title race. Sarri may have started out extremely well
but he has been hit by a number of critics in the last few months. The
Italian’s stubbornness to stick with the same starting lineup and tactics have
been a major disappointment in a division where managers are tactically astute.
The Blues had a strong look at Zinedine
Zidane and the likelihood of signing the Frenchman as the next Chelsea manager.
This would have been a great move for the club, who are fighting to keep Eden
Hazard from the sight of Real Madrid. However,Zidane’s decision to join Real
Madrid is a major blow for the team. Now, Chelsea are looking at two major
candidates who can potentially lead the club back to successful days – Frank
Lampard and Nuno Espiritu Santo. The former is a fan’s favourite and will
command a huge deal of respect, while the latter has been able to make a strong
impression in the Premier league with Wolves.
Both managers lack a significant amount of experience at the top level. Lampard has just begun his managerial career with Derby County, while Nuno is experiencing a taste in the Premier League only for the first time. Sarri appears to have fallen out with most of the players with striker Olivier Giroud claiming that the favouritism in the squad is starting to affect him. Chelsea are no stranger to changing managers, but it remains to be seen if Roman Abramovich will sanction a move for two inexperienced managers.
Chelsea have confirmed their first signing
of the winter transfer window with Christian Pulisic arriving from Borussia
Dortmund for a reported fee of £58m. The United States international has,
however, rejoined the Bundesliga club on a temporary basis for the season
before reporting for pre-season duty with the Blues next summer.
Pulisic’s future had been a regular
discussion topic over the past few months with Chelsea and Liverpool among
those linked with his signature. However, it is the former, who have managed to
prise him away from the Bundesliga leaders and Pulisic has revealed his
privilege after signing for the west London giants.
“In summer of 2019, I move on to
Chelsea and a new competition, the English Premier League. It’s a privilege to
have signed for such a legendary club and I look forward to working hard
towards being a contributor to their team of world class players. Looking
forward to working with Maurizio Sarri and his technical team,” the
20-year-old told the club’s official website.
Chelsea have been hampered with injuries to Pedro and Olivier Giroud over the past few games and based on that, the manager would have preferred having Pulisic on board for the second half of the campaign. However, Dortmund were seemingly reluctant to part ways with the attacker at the midway stage and the proposal of loaning him back has helped the Blues secure the transfer agreement nonetheless.
The Blues are currently just two points ahead of Arsenal for the final Champions League qualification spot but they could extend the gap further with the additional game on hand against Southampton on Wednesday night. The west London side have been largely dependent on Eden Hazard to produce the goods of late but the Belgian may need additional help from others, if the Blues are to eventually finish in the top four this season.
Valencia head coach Marcelino has admitted
that Michy Batshuayi could return to Chelsea at the turn of the year after a
rather unsuccessful loan spell with the Spanish club this term. The Belgium
international was loaned out by the Blues during the summer transfer window
after new manager Maurizio Sarri preferred to stick with Olivier Giroud and
Alvaro Morata as the preferred options upfront.
However, the move has not proved beneficial
for Batshuayi, who has managed just four starts from his 17 appearances for
Valencia and Marcelino has now acknowledged that the Blues could recall him
during the winter transfer window, he said: “At the right time will analyse the
final situation and we will decide [what to do with Batshuayi]. There is a
transfer [clause], I do not know what the situation is contractually, but for
all parties who want to leave, we will look for what is best for Valencia and
thus the appropriate decisions will be made.”
Batshuayi joined the Blues from Marseille during the summer of 2016 with the view to competing for the striker’s position alongside Diego Costa. However, the marksman struggled to find success during his maiden season with the club and the same has remained the case thereafter despite the unceremonious departure of Costa from the west London giants.
At present, Morata and Giroud remain the go-to men when it comes to the centre-forward duties but there has been the speculation that Sarri may prefer recruiting another top-class marksman when the transfer window reopens. As such, Batshuayi’s future with the Blues appears bleak regardless of the potential recall and he may have to pursue another temporary challenge elsewhere to enhance his prospects of regular gametime during the second half of the season. Chelsea are currently third in the Premier League table with 34 points after the opening 16 matches.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte had admitted that he is a bit of a disaster when it comes to persuading his club’s hierarchy to spend on top quality recruits. The Blues had been linked with a couple of high-profile signings during the winter transfer window, but Conte ultimately had to contend with the arrivals of Ross Barkley, Emerson Palmieri, and Olivier Giroud.
In the lead-up to the West Brom game, Conte admitted that he learns to be more persuasive with the Blues’ board especially with the big spending being done by some of their league rivals, he said: “I have to speak more with the managers who are very, very good at persuading their clubs to spend money to buy top players. I think I’m a bit of a disaster to convince the club to buy players. I think that in this aspect I can improve a lot. I have to learn a lot from the other coaches, the other managers, in that aspect.”