Chelsea yesterday confirmed the appointment of Antonio Conte as first-team head coach. The Italian has signed a three-year deal with the Blues and is expected to take charge of the club after the European Championships in summer.
The arrival of the former Juventus manager at Stamford Bridge could mean a major reshuffle in the Blues’ squad, and we look at five players whose futures hang in the balance ahead of the new season.
1) John Obi Mikel
The Nigeria international was reduced to a fringe player during Jose Mourinho’s spell at the club. Guus Hiddink’s arrival at Stamford Bridge provided a new lease of life to his Chelsea career, but it’s still not clear whether he features in the plans of Antonio Conte.
Mikel has openly admitted that he is not sure about his future at the club and might depart in the summer.
2) Nemanja Matic
It has been a disappointing season for the Serbian after playing an important role in Chelsea’s League winning campaign last season. He produced some questionable performances under Jose Mourinho in the first half of the season and seemed to have lost his place in the starting eleven to Mikel under Guus Hiddink.
The recent reports have suggested that Conte wants to bring AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan to Stamford Bridge. The Belgian international’s arrival at the club could mean the end of Matic’s career at the West London club.
3) Juan Cuadrado
The Colombian international was sent on a loan move to Juventus after following to impress in his first six months at Stamford Bridge following his move from Fiorentina. The consensus up until Conte’s arrival at the club had suggested that the winger will move to the Turin club in a permanent deal in summer.
However, reports have suggested that Conte is a fan of the winger and wants him to be a part of his squad for the next season.
4) Diego Costa
The striker has been in superb goalscoring form since the arrival of Guus Hiddink in December. However, he has attracted a lot of negative attention due to disciplinary issues, and the reports suggest that he doesn’t want to play in Premier League anymore.
He has long been linked with a return to Atletico Madrid and recently moves to PSG and China have also been suggested.
5) Eden Hazard
The Belgian star has seen one of the most astounding drops in his form this season. After winning multiple Player of the Season awards last season, he has failed to score a single league goal this season.
However, interests in his services still remain with PSG and Real Madrid seemingly interested in his services. It will be interesting to see whether Conte decides to keep Hazard at Stamford Bridge or sell him to a suitable buyer.
Other mentions: The likes of John Terry, Radamel Falcao, and Alexandre Pato are also expected to depart in summer.