Europe Next Season? Yay or Nay!

Over the years, we have become accustomed to seeing Chelsea at the very top of English football decimating teams all over England and Europe. Chelsea has been the best ranked English team in the UEFA rankings for quite some time now which only goes to show our consistency in Europe season after season. As such, this season’s debacle is hard to swallow which is even more mind-boggling when considering the fact that we were league champions last season and Champions League Semi-Finalists.

We, as Chelsea fans have become spoilt over the years, winning 4 League titles in a short duration, winning the Champions League and making into UCL finals twice. This makes our capacity to digest absence from UCL next season even more daunting.

For years, I’ve laughed at Liverpool, what with their delusions of grandeur. They expect to win trophies every year. They start the season believing they’re favourites for the title, being linked with world-class stars every year. It’s hilarious but I’m not laughing now.

Everton v Chelsea - Premier League
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

With no Champions League next season, I do not believe Chelsea have the pulling capacity to bring in world-class players they had in the recent seasons, even with the imminent arrival of Antonio Conte. With FFP regulations and the onus of balancing our books, we cannot spend more than we earn.

There seems to a general consensus amongst Chelsea fans that there won’t be any garage sale at the Bridge this summer but I wonder if it isn’t a delusion. There certainly won’t be many better keepers than Courtois available in the market. ¬†Conversely, do we expect Courtois to turn down any decent offer for a move away from Chelsea in the form¬†of money, European football and a chance of winning trophies? Same goes for others as well. How many of these vacant spots can we fill realistically? Why would any top player want to join us? What if big bids come in for the likes of Costa and Hazard, does anyone expects us to hold a player against their wishes and regardless of what is on offer? We have a stadium to pay for, books to balance. I believe, when the bids come in, business will surely be done. There’ll be a lot of churning at the Bridge this summer and we might not come out on top.

So, to believe that this season was just a blip and we still hold enough pulling power to bring in top talent is a farce. We need drastic changes and a move away from the rampant mismanagement we’ve seen over the past few years. We would have to act early in the summer, identify viable targets and go with the decision. Offloading players would be necessary as we cannot keep knocking off bids for our stars.

I believe getting into top four next season won’t be easy and it wouldn’t be the World class stars that’ll do it for us. We’d have to rely on our young stars to get us there and it might take longer than expected to reach there.

Keep the Blue Flag Flying High!

PS: Read this post on We Ain’t Got no History

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Manager Situation …. huh Conte or Simeone?

For the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of speculation in the media over the Chelsea FC manager situation. If certain reports are to be believed, Antonio Conte, the current Italy boss is in poll position to be Chelsea’s manager next summer albeit after Euro 2016. Chelsea fans will remember him from the 2013 UCL campaign when his then side Juventus came from behind in our opening group fixture to draw the game 1-1 at Stamford bridge. And, again in the reverse fixture when they slaughtered us 5-1 at home. It makes a lot of sense bringing a coach of his ilk to the Bridge this summer for a job which would be difficult to pitch by the Chelsea board to any decent manager in World football right now given our dismal standing in the league and no hope for qualifying to Europe whatsoever. As such it’s strange to see us being linked with names like Allegri, Conte and Simeone. The latter, of course, has denied receiving any offers from any European clubs whatsoever and doesn’t seem keen for a move away from Vincente Calderon in the summer.

Although Allegri has refused to comment on the Chelsea situation, Giovanni Branchini (Italian Football’s most powerful dealmaker), however, has denied Allegri’s chances for a move to Chelsea Football Club citing his contentment and commitment to Juventus and the Juve Project, I think it’s fair to say that this chapter is closed as far as this summer is concerned.

On the prospect of Diego Simeone, the manager has declined to comment on the speculation about Chelsea but is one of our most sought after target this summer. The added charm of him working with Diego Costa (The Guv’nor) and Thibaut Courtois will be tempting to him of course but, with Chelsea’s almost certain absence from Europe next season, it’ll be difficult to tempt him away from Vincente Calderon. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that one.

Now on to our most realistic targets for this summer, Antonio Conte, the present Italy boss who has a contract with the National side until the end of Euro 2016, could be lured into making a move to England by Abramovic’s coffers and a guarantee to work with complete autonomy (Michael Emenalo would like to have a say in that though). Conte, however, has already met with Chelsea board in London and is slated to meet them again in Monaco this coming weekend possibly to finalize the deal. It is also mooted that Conte is looking for a 3-year contract with full control over transfer policy.

Italia-Olanda amichevole
Italia-Antonio Conte

I personally believe that Antonio Conte could do a wonderful job in England for Chelsea even with the incoming threat of Pep Guardiola to City confirmed last month. Let us pray Marina Granovskaia gives us Conte and a bright future to look forward to.