Roman Abramovich has hardly broken the bank in recent transfer windows, despite his enormous wealth.
But that could be about to change as the Chelsea owner is set give the club’s next manager a £130 million war chest to bring Arturo Vidal and John Stones to Stamford Bridge, according to The Sun.
The paper report that the man who will be given the enormous amount of cash is Italy boss Antonio Conte, as the club prepare to complete a deal to bring the 46-year-old to west London after this summer’s European Championships.
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Whoever becomes Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor will be expected to bring in four high-profile signings as Chelsea look to ensure this dismal season was just a blip.
Bayern Munich’s Vidal would certainly help. The Sun believe Michael Emenalo, the Blues’ technical director, kept a watchful eye on the Chilean midfielder during Bayern’s Champions League game with Juventus on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old midfielder only signed for the German champions last season and to leave perennial European contenders Bayern for London would seem an odd move from a football standpoint, but the Premier League’s new £5.1 billion TV deal will have an impact on the English league’s allure.
Vidal revealed to The Times this week that he passed up the chance to join Manchester United last summer, concluding that Bayern’s ambition was the biggest factor in his decision to snub the Red Devils.
With captain John Terry set to leave Stamford Bridge when his contract expires at the end of the season, Everton defender Stones, who handed in a transfer request last summer in a bid to secure a move to the Blues, is seen as the perfect replacement.
So the Chelsea team of 2016-17 could look entirely different to the current lot.
It’s hardly surprising that Abramovich is keen to inject some new life into his squad - Chelsea were 16th in the league in December and, despite the impressive revival under Guus Hiddink, are likely to miss out on Champions League football next year.
Success in this year’s tournament is the only way in which they can qualify for Europe’s premier event unless they can miraculously overhaul a 14-point deficit in the race for fourth place.
Hiddink watched his team lose 2-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash last week as the Blues succumbed to a late Edinson Cavani goal.
The Uruguayan’s strike leaves the tie finely poised ahead of the return leg on March 9. Chelsea have the away goal but PSG have the scoreline advantage.
Given that the last two encounters between the teams have been decided on away goals, Chelsea will be delighted to have one in the bag thanks to John Obi Mikel.
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