Antonio Conte to Chelsea: Who should the Italian keep and sell?

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Antonio Conte has been named the new Chelsea manager for the 2016/17 Premier League season, but his job won't be easy. 

Chelsea slumped from efficient and dominant Premier League champions last campaign to struggling to stay in the top half of the division this time around. 

But do last season's Premier League winners really need an overhaul?


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Unfortunately for Conte, he might not have much say in this one. It would be unlikely that he would want to sell Thibaut Courtois even if he hasn't been the same commanding goalkeeper he was last campaign. 

Nevertheless, with Barcelona and Real Madrid rumoured to be sniffing for his signature and no Champions League football to offer, it could be difficult to keep hold of him. 

The Belgian is still only 23-years-old and keepers often go beyond their 30th birthday. In fact, Edwin van der Sar won a Premier League title at 40-years-old with Manchester United. So there is still plenty of time for the former Genk keeper to learn his trade.

Moreover, a two-month injury lay-off and a creaky defence in front of him certainly hasn't helped his confidence. A more solid Italian approach could favour him. 

Conclusion: Keep him if you can


One of the best full backs in the world last season to one of the most error-prone defenders in the division this campaign. This certainly hasn't been Cesar Azpilicueta's best season in a Chelsea shirt, but he could still bounce back. 

The Spanish defender has been one of the most consistent performers in the past couple of seasons for The Blues and one difficult campaign shouldn't be a reason to toss him out the window. 

A lack of protection from Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard at the start of the season knocked the defender's confidence, but at 26-years-old he is heading into his peak years and you're unlikely to find a more solid full-back in Europe.

You only have to look at the £21.7 million Baba Rahman to suggest there is a lack of quality in that department universally. 

Conclusion: Keep


There is a captain, leader, legend banner held at every Chelsea game for a reason. Everyone will have their eyes peeled to see what Conte chooses to do with John Terry this summer.

The Italian manager won't have much time to decide because the captain's contract expires this summer. Although at 35-years-old, he doesn't look like he will ever return to his best, he still has more to give off the pitch. 

Andre Villas-Boas was quickly shown the door when he tried to shove the old-guard out the door and ended up costing the Portuguese's job. 

He probably shouldn't start for the west London club, but he should be eased into a player-coach role. Provide back-up when needed and give advice to the youngsters coming through.

You don't want to let that sort of experience go easily. Liverpool let Steven Gerrard move on too early, Chelsea don't want to make the same mistake. 

Conclusion: Keep as a player-coach


Like many of Chelsea's players this season, they haven't replicated the sort of form they showed last campaign. Gary Cahill sort of fits that bracket, except he was often protected very well by Terry and Matic last campaign. 

Without that protection, he has been severely exposed and not just for Chelsea either. When playing for England he's also been culpable for positional errors, you only have to look at his marking for Mario Gomez's header against Germany recently. 

He only just signed a new contract in December, but Conte will want someone he can rely on. At 30-years-old, there would still be an opportunity to get a reasonable fee for him too.

Conclusion: Sell


Baba Rahman has been a bit-part player, to say the least, this season. The former Augsburg defender received high praise for his performances in the Bundesliga, but the Chelsea fans have only seen glimpses of that quality this campaign. 

He's still 21-years-old however, and although he hasn't convinced many, he should still be given time to develop. That £21.7 million fee wasn't just for this season, it was to breed him into the team over a number of years.

Rahman might not be ready for a starting position now, but don't rule it out in the future. 

Conclusion: Keep


Just where did it all go wrong for Nemanja Matic? One of the meanest defensive midfielders in Europe last season, and now has been dropped for John Obi Mikel. 

The Serbian has struggled miserably this season, but it hasn't helped that his central midfield partner has often gone walkabouts. 

Ramires and Cesc Fabregas both left Matic isolated at the beginning of this season, allowing the opposition to drag the combative midfield out of position. 

A solid midfield partner next to the former Benfica midfielder and he could return to his best form.

Conclusion: Keep


Cesc Fabregas hasn't just dipped this season he started to dip halfway through last campaign. He looked as if he was going to break Thierry Henry's 20 assists record, but only picked up three assists from January onwards. 

That is one fewer than this season's total. Fabregas has shown signs of his qualities under Guus Hiddink and can dictate the play at times. However, Conte often likes to play with two central midfielders and Fabregas is a liability there. There just isn't room to fit the Spanish midfielder in. 

Conclusion: Sell


By far Chelsea's best player this season and one of the very few players who can hold their head up high this campaign. No question Conte should keep him, he just needs to hope no one tries to prize him away. 

Conclusion: Keep if you can


Mr versatile. He's not your normal Brazilian wizard, but that doesn't make him useless. Play him on the left, play him on the right, or just behind the striker and this guy will do the dirty work.

If Conte is going to be disciplined like Italians always seem to get labelled, then Oscar fits the bill. His tactical awareness at 24-years-old will undoubtedly impress the Italian manager. 

He's been linked with Conte's former club Juventus so it might not be easy to keep him, however.

Conclusion: Keep if you can


A shadow of the player he was last season and his body language looks as if he has already signed a new contract at another club. 

The Belgian has failed to score a Premier League goal this campaign and some believe he didn't deserve the player of the year award last season. 

With ten assists in a team that won the league, that is the least the former Lille winger should have got. Jordan Henderson set up the same number of goals as Hazard, and Liverpool didn't have a centre forward. Not to mention supposed flop, Angel Di Maria, assisted more than the Belgian at Manchester United. 

He might shine elsewhere in a less competitive league, but that doesn't mean he is world-class - certainly not yet anyway. And if the Blues can get a world-class fee for him, then everyone should be happy.

Conclusion: Sell 


He might be a hassle, but Chelsea shouldn't let Diego Costa go if they can help it. 

With a lack of top strikers in world football at the moment, The Blues would be mad to let him go. Especially without Champions League football to attract the best forwards. 

11 goals isn't the best return this campaign, but in a struggling team, it isn't the worst. Under Hiddink, he has started to show performances which were as good as last season. 

Conclusion: Keep


Asmir Begovic is more than an adequate understudy for Courtois while The Blues will hope Kurt Zouma can return to form next season because the French defender has a bright future. 

The same can't be said about 32-year-old Branislav Ivanovic however, he was struggling towards the end of last campaign and should have been sold in the summer. 

Matt Miazga and Ruben Loftus-Cheek both have promise and should be kept on, and so should Kenedy and Bertrand Traore. 

Loic Remy, Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao should all be moved on because they seem to spend more time on the physio table than the pitch. 

Mikel looks as if he might have revived his career initially, but isn't good enough for Chelsea long-term and should have been sold years ago. 

Pedro has been inconsistent, but has shown his Barcelona magic on occasions and his experience could be valuable for the season ahead. 

Who do you think Antonio Conte should keep and sell? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!

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