Antonio Conte wants Radja Nainggolan to be his first Chelsea signing

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Antonio Conte appears to be the standout favourite to land the Chelsea job this summer, so much so he is already planning his first piece of transfer business.

According to the Telegraph, the Italy head coach has become the leading candidate ahead of Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone, Juventus' Massimiliano Allegri and former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli.

Allegri is closing in on a new contract with Juventus while Simeone has reportedly told his current crop of Atletico stars that he is committed to the club. It leaves Conte and Sampaoli as the main candidates for the role, but the latter's lack of experience in European football places the former at the front of the queue.

The timing is perfect for Conte, who won three consecutive Scudettos as Juventus manager between 2011 and 2014, as his contract with Italy will expire at the end of the upcoming European Championships in France. He has made no secret of his desire to move to the Premier League and believes he has a good chance of convincing Roman Abramovich to hire him.

Such is his confidence, Conte has already started to look into potential summer signings and has, according to the same report, identified AS Roma star Radja Nainggolan as a top target for the upcoming transfer window.

Star of Serie A

The Belgium international has been one of the leading lights in Serie A since joining Roma in 2014, stepping in for the frequently injured Kevin Strootman to become a leading box-to-box midfielder for the Rome-based outfit.

A stocky midfielder capable of attacking and defending in equal measure, Nainggolan certainly has the physical features to succeed in the Premier League and is considered something of a cheaper alternative to Juventus star Paul Pogba.

Alternative to Pogba

Of course, Conte would probably dream of bringing the France international to west London, but Chelsea will see their pulling power significantly weakened unless they can qualify for the Champions League.

Currently 14 points away from fourth place in the Premier League, the Blues will have to conjure up the mother of all miracles to achieve such a feat. Most likely, they will have to win the competition to earn their place in it next season.

Summer of upheaval

Nainggolan certainly won't come cheap and his arrival is likely to spell the end for either John Obi Mikel or Nemanja Matic, both of whom have been linked with an exit at some point in the recent past.

It is likely to be a busy summer at Stamford Bridge, regardless of who takes charge. Long-standing captain John Terry will leave the club while Asmir Begovic is rumoured to be seeking an exit. Most significantly, both Diego Costa and Eden Hazard are reportedly ready to move on if the right club comes in. As a result, Nainggolan's potential arrival would only signify the start of a flurry of activity in west London.

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Premier League
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