New Chelsea boss will be given a ‘blank cheque’ to prevent another disaster season at Stamford Bridge, according to the Daily Star at least, but will money be enough to turn around the west Londoners’ ailing fortunes?
With no prospect of European football next term, not even the Europa League, which even looked-down-on city rivals West Ham United have along with a new 60,000-seat stadium, reasons to sign for Chelsea are becoming few and far between.
Even owner Roman Abramovich’s endless stockpile of cash doesn’t mean as much as it used to, with richer men in the Premier League and TV money meaning the likes of Stoke City can spend over £18m mid-season on a young player once thought to be destined for Stamford Bridge in Giannelli Imbula.
Unlike Arsenal, West Ham, Liverpool and Manchester City, who have spent over £60m combined this summer, Chelsea are yet to sign a player since Conte agreed to take over the reins at Stamford Bridge.
The 2014/15 champions’ Premier League competitors each have the advantage of an extra month of pre-season preparation for their coaches, including new boys Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho at Man City and Manchester United respectively, while Conte risks his reputation with Italy at Euro 2016.
If they do well that might help, but it’s hard to see Chelsea doing anything but paying over the odds for players during the summer, with nothing on offer but domestic cup competitions outside the bread-and-butter drudge of the top flight.
This could be having an effect already, with the Blues rumoured to be some way down the line with a move for Roma’s Germany international centre-half Antonio Rudiger, seen as a cheaper alternative to Everton and England man John Stones or Paris Saint-Germain’s young Brazilian Marquinhos.
Leicester became the first team to win the Premier League having not finished third or better in the previous campaign, so Chelsea’s tenth from last term doesn’t recommend them at 13/2. Whether they can win back a 4/7 top-four place must be doubtful as well.