If you’re the manager of Chelsea, it’s important not to get on the wrong side of the club’s owner Roman Abramovich.
The Russian billionaire has no problem firing a coach when he sees necessary - nine coaches, including Jose Mourinho twice, have come and gone since his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2003 - so it would take a brave, or foolish, employee to cross him.
Antonio Conte, though, isn’t one to beat around the bush. He believes Chelsea, with their current squad, are not in a position to challenge for the Premier League title - and he let Abramovich know his thoughts during a two-hour meeting last weekend.
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This is according to the Mirror, who understand Conte told Abramovich, director Marina Granovskaia and technical director Michael Emenalo that he needs five more signings in order to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United this season.
The report adds, via information obtained from witnesses, that Abramovich walked away from the talks “looking less than impressed”.
Conte wants more than Batshuayi and Kante
The oligarch has already forked out £63 million on Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante this summer, but Conte believes Chelsea require more quality players for multiple positions.
Top of his agenda is another striker and a centre-back.
The Blues are trying to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, while Everton’s Romelu Lukaku remains an option, too - albeit an expensive one.
Chelsea are also looking to bolster their defence with either Juventus’s Leonardo Bonucci, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly or AS Roma’s Kostas Manolas.
Conte would also still like to sign Manolas’s teammate Radja Nainggolan.
Conte is right to voice his concerns
That the Italian coach has concerns about the squad’s lack of strength in depth shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to Abramovich.
Chelsea finished last season in 10th position, 31 points off the eventual champions Leicester City, and Conte - determined to win the title in his first season in west London - knows what’s required in order to make the team competitive again.
Can Chelsea compete for the Premier League title with their current squad? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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