IS ANTONIO CONTE THE SOLUTION TO CHELSEA’S WOES?
With the dust now settling on the appointment of Antonio Conte as the next manager of Chelsea, it’s time to discuss whether or not the 46-year-old Italian will be the perfect fit for such a volatile club as Chelsea.
First and foremost, there is no doubting that Conte is a fantastic manager. His achievements with Juventus over the past three years have been nothing short of astounding, inheriting a wounded giant and turning them into the European powerhouse in which they are today. His accolades are endless, with Conte’s team claiming the Scudetto in 2013/14, winning 33 games and amassing an incredible 102 points. On top of that, Conte’s overall record of 83 wins from 114 league games is the highest win ratio of any Juventus manager in Serie A since the 1971/72 season. Clearly the man knows how to win football games, but will his tactics translate so effectively over to the English game?
Conte can best be described as a perfectionist, un-waivered by reputations but more concerned with hard work and commitment to the team. In a sense, he can be compared to previous Chelsea manager and self-confessed special one, Jose Mourinho. Conte, like Mourinho, is a meticulous planner as well as always demanding perfection from his players. Everything from player’s diets to video sessions are scrupulously planned down to the very last detail to ensure his players have every opportunity to succeed. He is also incredibly passionate and not afraid to voice his dissatisfaction if his team is under-performing.
The major question mark hanging over the current Italian coach is whether he is the type of manager Chelsea requires to bring them back to the top of the English game. The tough, no-nonsense approach hasn’t always worked at a club like Chelsea, with player’s egos and an overbearing yet committed owner often winning out over the demands of the manager. Mourinho, who as stated shares a similar managerial style to Conte, enjoyed two tumultuous spells at Chelsea. While enjoying great success, his hard line approach with the players and owner brought about his demise on both occasions. Chelsea is a club that requires a special type of manager. One who is not only a great tactician, but is also able to connect to the players within the dressing room to ensure he has everyone on side. It will be interesting to see how Conte will deal with the pressures placed on him by the owner, players and fans alike.
One other interesting aspect of the Conte appointment is how much of the current playing squad will remain at Stamford Bridge next season? One thing is for certain, that no player under Conte’s reign will be safe from being scrutinised or sold if 100% effort isn’t exerted. The likes of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have both had lacklustre seasons and have at times expressed a desire to leave the club and ply their trade in other European leagues. If this does seem to be the case, then it is hardly likely that Conte will stand in their way, even if they are two of the biggest names within the Chelsea playing squad. Conte will perhaps look towards his own backyard to bolster his newly acquired Chelsea team. A top of his transfer wish-list are reportedly superstars Edison Cavani and Gonzalo Higuain while Conte is said to also be a huge fan of former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku. With an open chequebook to spend, it is almost guaranteed that an overhaul of the squad will be occurring over the summer.
With Conte not taking over the team until the end of the Euros in July, it will be a long wait to see what impact the enigmatic Italian will have at the Bridge next season. If he is able to recreate what he has achieved with Juventus, then we could be seeing the dawn of a new era of dominance within the premier league. If not, he will join the long list of managers chewed up and spat out by the ruthless Roman Abramovich and Chelsea Football Club.
Let us know your thoughts on Conte’s appointment below? If you are a Chelsea fan, are you feel more confident about season 16/17?