Antonio Conte used his press conference on Friday ahead of this weekend’s Community Shield match to have a moan about how few players he’s now got, especially after the sale of Nemanja Matic to Manchester United:
“Now for us, it’s very important to try to improve our squad, above all under a numerical aspect. We have a small squad.
“And I think only one player is not enough to improve our team. We need more players with, not at top level like Neymar, more players to improve our squad, to improve our quality”
The Italian also made it pretty clear that he wasn’t necessarily in agreement about the sale of the Serbian midfielder in the first place. When asked about it, he replied: “You have to ask the club about this.”
Chelsea do need players, especially with their additional workload in the Champions League. Conte didn’t use too many players last season in their title victory, but he was somewhat fortunate when it came to injuries to key players, with pretty much all of them available.
He can’t rely on this fortune again, this time round, and he knows it.
Selling off their best players
Last season, Chelsea pretty much relied on goals from players who played in the front three forward positions, with goals from Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Pedro, Willian and Michy Batshuayi totalling 58.
Goals from that area of the pitch are very important to their game-plan. Costa, in particular has often been a game changer, having been top scorer in all three of the seasons that he’s been there.
Now, he’s being cast out of the club, having been told that he is surplus to requirements by Conte at the end of last season, via text message.
Considering that the manager is complaining about the lack of numbers, and that the strength in depth is more necessary than last season, selling a 20-goal-a-season striker seems to be an act of stubbornness at best, stupidity at worst.
Would it be in everyone’s interests to stay?
Perhaps Costa wants to leave the club, and it is known that he hasn’t really settled in England off the field, despite his success on it.
But the club that he really wants to go to, Atletico Madrid, doesn’t seem to be a straightforward option now that they are under a transfer ban and there don’t seem to be too many other takers.
Surely it makes sense for everyone involved to keep Costa at Chelsea for at least one more year, since they need the players? He would much prefer to play games with the World Cup in mind at the end of the season and he has shown over the years that he can deliver when it matters.
The need for support
But no. Conte made his decision on the player back in January, and he doesn’t seem to me like a man that is for making U-turns.
Granted, they’ve bought in Alvaro Morata as a replacement, but he’s only ever reached double figures once in a top tier league during his career, which doesn’t suggest that he’s going to be a reliable goal machine.
Wouldn’t they be a much more fearsome proposition if they had two Spanish strikers and not one?
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?