The summer transfer window is yet to get underway, but Chelsea have already been linked with a plethora of potential transfer targets from across Europe, most of them being from the Serie A.
However, the key to a successful 2016/2017 season might hinge on the club keeping their crucial players, rather than bringing in new players.
Antonio Conte's appointment as new manager has fueled several transfer speculations, including some players who had worked with him during his time in Turin, as well as during his current stint with the Italian national team.
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Supported by the fact that the Blues suffered a dismal campaign last season, even more emphasis is being provided to these transfer rumors, seen as a source of rejuvenation for the club.
Holding on to Existing Players
For a long time, there was speculation linking Eden Hazard to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, amidst claims that the Belgian had a fall out with club officials, especially after his poor showing during the season.
But the winger has squashed those rumors, for now, stating that he desires to stay at the club.
According to ESPN, Hazard has said: "I want to finish well at the club".
The 25-year-old added: "Like Thibaut, I will be at Chelsea 99 percent next season", whereby also emphasizing Thibaut Courtois' likelihood of staying at the club.
During the last few games of the season, the Belgian started to look like his old self after registering his first goals of the season at Bournemouth and stunning strikes against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, which is sure to bring some relief to the Blues faithful.
Hazard's Belgian compatriot, Courtois, is another important player for the club, and is one of the best keepers in the world alongside Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), David de Gea (Manchester United) and Keylor Navas (Real Madrid).
Letting him go so soon would make it extremely difficult for the club to find a suitable replacement.
Despite being linked with several promising keepers such as Fraser Forster, Samir Handanovic and Gianluigi Donnarumma, none of these players could truly fill the gap that would be left by the Belgian's departure.
In addition to Courtois' obvious talent, he brings a great deal of experience to the side, having appeared in the Champions League final with Atletico Madrid as well as winning the La Liga and Premier League in the last three seasons.
Hazard and Courtois are two of the most important players at the Bridge, owing to their impressive quality and potential. Also, at the ripe age of 25 and 24 years respectively, the duo have their best playing days ahead of them, and Blues fans will hope that those days come during their stay at Stamford Bridge.
Another key player Chelsea need to hold onto is Brazilian winger Willian, who is reportedly being pursued by former Blues manager Jose Mourinho; now manager at Old Trafford.
The 2016 Chelsea Player of the Year has been head and shoulders above the rest of the squad in terms of performance and it is not surprising to see why Manchester United want his signature.
However, Chelsea will do well to resist any bids from the Red Devils as the Brazilian is now a seasoned player at the Bridge and is crucial to the stability of the team.
Even at 35, John Terry was arguably Chelsea's best centre-back last season and continued to perform with great passion in the midst of their faltering campaign.
During a season filled with rumors indicating the club's denial to offer the captain a new contract extension, Terry has stated on several occasions that his heart still lies with the Blues and if it were up to him, the former England captain would like to finish his career at the Bridge.
After extensive talks with club officials, Terry was offered a late one-year contract extension, where he is expected to have a reduced role in the first team but provide a crucial presence in the dressing room.
Chelsea might have made the right decision by keeping the central defender as he provides stability and confidence to the side in addition to his contributions on the pitch.
Despite not being linked with any big clubs, Cesc Fabregas is yet another player who brings stability to the team and holds a key position in the first team.
Having adopted a deeper yet creative role, the Spanish international pulls all the strings in midfield and is the primary assist provider given his immaculate vision and passing abilities, both long and short.
Deemed by fans as the next potential Chelsea captain, the 29-year-old certainly has the right amount experience to honor that role, having already captained Arsenal during his first stint in the Premier League.
There is no doubt that the current players in the team are capable of bringing the club back into title contention, and holding onto them will not only please the Stamford Bridge faithful, but bring confidence and stability back to the club as Conte settles into his new role.
Not much has changed since Chelsea's league triumph in 2015, in terms of personnel; so surely the club still have the ability to launch a reasonable title bid.
Chelsea, however, do need new signings to provide reinforcements for certain positions and also need to let go of certain players who might have run their course at the Bridge, but keeping the above players at the club are of utmost importance.
How many signings do YOU think Antonio Conte needs to make at Chelsea this summer? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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