Despite not being officially confirmed as Chelsea manager yet, Antonio Conte appears to already be planning for next season at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian is being heavily tipped to take over from Guus Hiddink at the end of the season, with an announcement reported to be made later this month confirming the speculation.
Conte’s focus is currently on the European Championships in the summer as he looks to lead his native country to success, but it appears the 46-year-old is also taking glances at possible transfer targets for the Blues.
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Yesterday, it was reported that Conte had recommended that the club take a look at Roma duo Miralem Pjanic and Radja Nainggolan as two potential summer signings.
And it appears that the club have listened the their reported future manager, with The Times stating that the club have opened talks with Pjanic over a possible transfer.
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The report suggests that Chelsea director and lead negotiator, Marina Granovskaia, has contacted the Bosnian in an attempt to lure him to west London.
The 25-year-old has a £31 million release clause and it’s believed that the midfielder will ask for a modest £60,000-a-week contact - which shouldn’t be a problem by club owner Roman Abramovich.
Pjanic is currently in his sixth season at Stadio Olimpico, having signed from Lyon in 2011. He's impressed for the Italians this season, scoring 11 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions.
The decision to leave Roma may be made even easier if the club fail to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Luciano Spalletti’s side are currently third, but are tied with Fiorentina in fourth - with only the top three qualifying for the elite European competition.
Need for more midfielders
Conte has obviously identified that Chelsea will need at least one new midfielder, with Nemanja Matic failing to hit the impressive heights of last season.
Ramires left the club in January to join Jiangsu Suning in China, while fans are still left questioning the ability of John obi Mikel.
Conte will hope to emulate his managerial success in Italy when he arrives in England. The former midfielder won three consecutive league titles for Juventus in his previous domestic job, which led to him moving to the international stage.
However, Conte will have a tough task to produce similar results to caretaker boss Hiddink, who has been magnificent since joining the Blues in December.
The Dutchman is still unbeaten in the Premier League and has led the club well away from the relegation zone and into the top half of the table.
They sit just five points behind Manchester United and Hiddink is now targeting European qualification.
"First of all, we’re happy. It’s not Chelsea standard to be happy to be out of the relegation zone and sit back and relax a bit,” he said after their 2-1 win away to Norwich.
"We have to set new targets now with the ambition of Chelsea in the direction of Europe."
Would Miralem Panic be a good signing for Chelsea? Let us know in the comments box below!
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