There’s a special type of buzz around Chelsea at the moment. With Antonio Conte taking the manager’s role imminently and big names linked with a move, there’s abundant evidence that the Blues are turning over a new leaf.
The Italian manager’s arrival certainly carries a lot of promise and Conte wields an impressive reputation. However, the 46-year-old could face a slow start at Stamford Bridge next season.
With Conte still under the thumb of the FIGC as Italian national team coach, he faces a rush to learn the ropes at Chelsea ahead of the Premier League kick-off in August.
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Italy have made an impressive start to their European Championship campaign under the wing of Conte. A 1-0 win over Sweden and a superb 2-0 victory over Belgium has seen them already reach the round of 16.
In fact, the Azzurri are showing signs of being very successful in France this summer. On current form, you certainly wouldn’t be ridiculed for suggesting they could go all the way.
While this is exciting news for Italy, it doesn’t bode well for Chelsea. It means Conte could be tied down to his current duties as far as July 10.
Given Chelsea play West Ham in the Premier League on August 13, the Blues' new manager could have as little as 34 days to settle into his new role. Besides, the 46-year-old hasn’t even posed with a Chelsea jersey yet.
Obviously, this poses a number of issues for both Conte and those involved with Stamford Bridge.
The ex-Juventus boss will have minimal time to assess his new squad and plot the tactics he will deploy next season. Consequently, he will be even more strapped for time when it comes to organising transfer activity.
Chelsea traditionally call upon a 4-5-1 formation also. This proves a stark contrast to the 4-2-4 or 3-5-2 models to which Conte often turns.
Making a new side accustomed to these quirky formations will take time and two months at most might not cut it. Whether it’s Conte being forced to use a formation he isn’t comfortable with or Chelsea, it’s worrying.
Had the 46-year-old not been away with Italy, he could already have paved the way for numerous signings and laid the foundations for a formation revolution.
There should be some encouraging signs for Chelsea though. After all, Conte is renowned for his ‘intense’ management both on the sideline and in the dressing room.
Therefore, if there’s any manager that can stamp his name on a side in just over a month, then it’s probably Conte.
However, there can be little denying that the Blues could be set for a slow start under the Italian. He may be a world-class manager, but it may be well into October before he truly grasps the team and league.
Chelsea have gambled there’s no doubting it. Consequently, for all intents and purposes, it’s beneficial for the west London side if Italy crash out as soon as possible.
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