The gossip columns have been filling up phone-books’ worth of Chelsea transfer targets faster than Geoff Capes can tear them in half since it was confirmed that former Juventus manager Antonio Conte was to become their next manager.
Among the many teams the Stamford Bridge side are reportedly set to raid at the behest of the new regime, one club, Roma, look set to for an unparalleled ransacking.
Giallorossi stars Miralem Pjanic, Radja Nainggolan, Kostas Manolas and Alessandro Florenzi have all been linked with moves to West London.
Conte has spent his entire career to date playing and managing in Italy and with the Italian national team, so recruiting from Serie A is understandable.
When steering Juventus to three consecutive scudetti, he proved himself to command an unparalleled understanding of how to succeed in an environment where such players operated.
But that’s exactly what makes this seeming intention to recruit so many from a side who have repeatedly proven unable to topple Juve so confusing.
The Chelsea boss knows as well as anyone that, while gifted footballers, the Roma quartet operate at a level below the highest calibre.
Bringing them to Stamford Bridge would be akin to trying to construct a new Bianconeri out of players who have shown themselves to be of subordinate standard to the original incarnation.
It’s also a dispiriting assessment of the Blues’ transfer pull and the direction the club will be going in over the next few years.
Where once it may have been expected that Conte would attempt to stow various Juve players in his Heathrow-bound suitcase, he is now reduced to coveting inferior imitations.