Chelsea chase trio as Blues look to take spending over £200m: How Antonio Conte's 2016/17 line-up could lookPublished July 17, 2016
Having spent £33m to bring in Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi from Marseille and snapped up in-form defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante from Leicester City, it’s fair to say Antonio Conte is getting stuck in as the new Chelsea manager.
However the Italian hasn’t come close to finishing his summer spending!
The former Juventus and Italian national team coach takes over a Chelsea side who endured a miserable season last term, this leading to Jose Mourinho being fired by the club last December.
The Blues finished way down in tenth place in 2015/16 and as such do not have Champions League football to offer prospective signings. Fortunately Chelsea are a big enough side to attract the biggest names without this being too much of an issue, though it’s fair to say that a second season without being at the top table could prove disastrous.
Chelsea owner has handed Conte a massive transfer budget and further additions are on the cards.
The West London side are said to be keen on bringing in Everton defender John Stones, having failed in their pursuit of the 22-year-old England international last summer.
John Terry has signed on for another season but isn’t likely to be a regular this term and Gary Cahill didn’t cover himself in glory last season and it’s a good bet that Conte may look to use French youngster Kurt Zouma more frequently.
Indeed Conte may look to bring in two new high-profile centre-backs as he does like to field a back three, and with that in mind Chelsea have been strongly linked with experienced battler Leonardo Bonucci, who could be tempted by the chance to reunite with his former national team boss. Such a move won’t come cheap.
Stones would cost Chelsea upwards of £40m but that fee may be dwarfed by a move for Bonucci, with Juventus said to be demanding over £50m for the 29-year-old.
Chelsea are also said to be readying a second King Power Stadium raid, with Conte turning his attention to Riyad Mahrez, having already brought in Kante from the surprise Premier League champions.
French-born Algerian international Mahrez was outstanding last term, his tally of 11 assists and 17 goals helping the former Le Havre man to the PFA Player of the Year award.
Barcelona are also tracking the 25-year-old but Mahrez may fancy his chances of regular first-team football at Chelsea over a move to the Nou Camp, where the Foxes star would have to push in ahead of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi or Neymar.
Leicester City are thought to be looking to secure upwards of £35m for Mahrez, who they brought in for just £400k two and a half years ago.
Here’s how Antonio Conte’s side could look in 2016/17.