Antonio Conte is exactly who Chelsea need

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Football News

When Jose Mourinho was unceremoniously sacked as Chelsea manager in December, and replaced by Dutchman, Guus Hiddink, it felt as though Chelsea were moving away from controversy and into calmer waters.

It seems rather odd then, when in recent weeks, rumours have gathered pace about the arrival of opinion-splitting Antonio Conte in the summer. But there is many a reason to be optimistic for Chelsea fans, as they are not necessarily seeing history repeating itself.


No one can deny the credentials of Conte during his time at Juventus, especially domestically. Taking the reigns at the Old Lady after the match-fixing scandal which saw them relegated, Conte led Juve to back-to-back-to-back league titles, rebuilding them as a serious European force.


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This included an invincible season in 2011-12, during which time players such as Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Leonardo Bonucci and Arturo Vidal were all signed. While in Europe Conte's results flattered to deceive, it was his squad which Max Allegri elevated to the Champions League Final last season.

Chelsea are at the start of a big rebuilding job and should they appoint Conte, they will be in the hands of someone who has quickly rebuilt European giants before.

He has a winning mentality that is cut from the same cloth as Jose Mourinho, and so will not be satisfied with a top four finish. He is going to Stamford Bridge to win trophies.

This is vital for Chelsea. Guus Hiddink has steadied the ship remarkably and his relationship with the players has been exemplary. It feels like a squad and a manager reminiscent of Arsenal teams of the last 10 years - a period of time that Chelsea cannot go without a title.


To say Conte has a no-nonsense style would be sugar-coating his personality. He is ruthless, as demonstrated by a confrontation with Gianluigi Buffon when the Juventus legend mentioned bonuses during a team talk. He has no time for primadonnas, much like Mourinho, and will not stand for players who don't dedicate 100% to the cause.

Chelsea fans will hope that this restores the team spirit of Mourinho's first squad, that has been severely lacking this season, with those unwilling to sacrifice themselves for the team shown the door.

Expect plenty of fireworks during interviews, as this is a man who is not afraid to let his feelings and emotions be known.


His ability to get the players on side is also remarkable. Whilst at Juventus, Conte formed bonds with big personalities such as Carlos Tevez, Pirlo and Pogba. He was able to get the best out of these players, who all speak glowingly of him.

"When Conte speaks, his words assault you,' wrote Pirlo in his book. "They crash through the doors of your mind, often quite violently and settle deep within you. I've lost track of the number of times I've found myself saying, 'Hell, Conte said something really spot-on again today'."

It is this sort of relationship with his players that Conte will need to get this Chelsea squad playing for the badge again, and getting the fans back on side.


Tactically, Conte's approach could be very interesting. Will he go for the back three that he preferred at Juventus?

Not necessarily. Conte prefers to adapt a formation to the players, rather than put players into a formation. He is adaptable and will first assess what is best for his players.

It would make sense if Conte were to use Cesc Fabregas in a similar role to the one he used Pirlo in. The Italian was able to sit deep and dictate games with his passing range, but was protected by runners around him. This could suit Fabregas and also give an opportunity to Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

He is also a manager that likes to play two up front. This was of great benefit to Diego Costa when he played with a partner at Atletico Madrid, and also allowed Carlos Tevez to thrive in a roaming role at Juventus. Could this be a position to reinvigorate the Chelsea career of Eden Hazard?

Next season looks incredibly exciting in the Premier League, with the prospect of Pep Guardiola at Man City, Jose Mourinho at Man United, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs and Conte at Chelsea (not forgetting Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, some things never change). We could see one of the most intriguing battles for the title ever.

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Premier League
Didier Drogba
Serie A

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