Antonio Conte is set to overhaul his Chelsea squad this summer with a view to restoring the Blues’ crippled pride following a disastrous campaign last season.
The Italian, who will take over at the conclusion of Italy’s Euro 2016 tournament, faces a daunting task few other managers in his job have tackled before him.
With the enviable quartet comprising Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Petr Cech now long gone or past their prime, Conte must sign these three players to complement goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and build a new Chelsea spine.
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Romelu Lukaku ended his spell at Chelsea with less than 200 minutes of Premier League football under his belt, but should he return to west London, both he and the Stamford Bridge faithful will be hoping it was merely a false start.
The Belgian finally looks to be living up to the ‘new Drogba' tag he picked up as a teenager at Anderlecht, which unsurprisingly makes him the ideal candidate to become the Blues’ next legendary striker.
Lukaku has racked up 61 goals for Everton in the last three seasons and Euro 2016 is likely to be something of a final audition to convince his queue of admirers he is worthy of the Toffees’ reported £65 million asking price.
While some Chelsea fans may be content with the current world-class option in Diego Costa, incessant whispers of the 27-year-old’s desire to return to Spain undermine his long-term commitment to the club.
Paul Pogba epitomises one of the rarest breeds of footballers in the modern game – the complete midfielder.
Chelsea have lacked a player of this ilk since Frank Lampard and Michael Essien formed the heartbeat of the Blues’ side.
Like the ex-Chelsea duo, the Juventus star brings a driving force to the engine room of the pitch like few others can with his combination of flair, muscle, vision and stamina.
His unrivalled excellence in almost every facet of the game leaves little wonder as to why Manchester United and Real Madrid are also willing to splash upwards of £65 million to land the Frenchman.
However, Chelsea hold a bargaining chip over the rest of the competition in the form of Juan Cuadrado – a player whom Juventus are reportedly eager to sign permanently following the conclusion of his loan spell.
Chelsea’s success over the last decade has been synonymous with a rock-solid defence, and while Conte is expected to implement a system capable of upholding this trend, his favoured three-man back line arguably rules out John Terry as a regular starter.
While his leadership qualities are vital to the Chelsea cause, the veteran skipper lacks the speed to hold his own in a back three.
Kalidou Coulibaly could bring the towering presence and deceptive mobility Conte needs to complete a sterling three-man defence alongside Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill.
The 6’5” Senegal international, who played in all but five Serie A fixtures for Napoli during the 2015-16 season, has been a standout performer since joining from Genk in 2014.
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