Antonio Conte is expected to be named as Chelsea’s next permanent manager later this month and the Italian coach has already recommended two players he wants signed this summer.
According to The Times, Conte has advised the club to sign two Serie A stars he has seen plenty of over recent years: AS Roma duo Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan.
Chelsea are understood to be receptive to the idea of signing Pjanic - they have a longstanding interest in the technically-gifted Bosnia & Herzegovina international - while rumours linking the west London outfit to Nainggolan have intensified since it emerged that Conte was the frontrunner to land the manager’s job at Stamford Bridge.
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Conte still has concerns that Chelsea may opt to appoint either Massimiliano Allegri or Jorge Sampaoli, according to the Times’ report, due to his involvement with the Italian national team at this summer’s European Championships in France.
The Euro 2016 final takes place on July 10, meaning Conte may not be able to start work with Chelsea until after this date should Italy go all the way.
Roman Abramovich now regards youth as priority
However, Conte is confident that he is capable of juggling the two jobs and has already held talks with the reigning Premier League champions about the development of their young players.
Roman Abramovich, who has not yet met Conte, reportedly regards the development of young players as a priority - perhaps having been impressed with what’s currently happening at Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino.
But no club can rely solely on talented youngsters - and Conte is acutely aware that securing the services of both Pjanic and Nainggolan would significantly enhance Chelsea’s chances of winning silverware next season.
Pjanic: Expert passer
Pjanic, 25, is one of the best passing midfielders in Serie A and would be expected to adjust to life in the Premier League with consummate ease.
Nainggolan: Box-to-box midfielder
Similarly, there’s a reason why Nainggolan has been linked with several big English clubs this season.
The box-to-box midfielder, who has represented the Belgium national team on 17 occasions, appears to possess all the tools required to be a hit in the Premier League.
Chelsea unlikely to sign both players
The chances of Chelsea landing both Pjanic and Nainggolan this summer, however, are slim.
They are two of Roma’s most important players and replacing them would be a nigh-on impossible task for the club’s manager, Luciano Spalletti.
Chelsea already possess a decent group of central midfielders, including Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas - although both have underperformed this term.
The arrival of two first-class central midfielders would also almost certainly harm the development of highly-rated 20-year-old Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who put pen-to-paper on a new five-year deal with the Blues this week.
Chelsea fans: would you be happy if Antonio Conte signed both Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan this summer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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