What do Chelsea need in the transfer window this summer?
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 25/05/18 3:46pm
With Antonio Conte's future at Chelsea far from certain, we look at what the club needs in order to return to the top four.
Conte could depart the west London club this summer despite winning the Premier League and FA Cup in his two seasons at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian has endured a fraught relationship with the Blues from the moment he sent an ill-advised text message to Diego Costa at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.
Then came his new contract featuring a hefty pay rise but no extension, and Chelsea's transfer policy, which included the sale of Nemanja Matic to Manchester United, strained relations further.
While a new manager is expected, what Chelsea appear to need most is a squad overhaul. Only Cesar Azpilicueta, N'Golo Kante, Willian and Eden Hazard are immune from criticism for a woeful Premier League title defence.
Top of the in-tray for Conte's successor would be securing the long-term future of Hazard, with Real Madrid expected to table an offer as part of Zinedine Zidane's plans to reshuffle his squad.
Thibaut Courtois has made no secret of his desire to one day return to Madrid but said he will not decide on his future until after the World Cup. The Belgian 'keeper's contract expires next summer, and the club will be keen not to lose him on a free transfer.
A change in approach based on long-term stability is unlikely, but more opportunities for Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount following their respective loan spells at Crystal Palace and Vitesse Arnhem would be welcomed by supporters.
Making the headlines...
Hazard has hinted that he will stay at Chelsea next season after he spoke of his ambition to win another Premier League title while with the Belgium camp ahead of the World Cup.
Alvaro Morata has been spotted speaking with Juventus' sporting director Fabio Paratici in Milan this week, and the Daily Mail report that the Spain striker would like a move back to Serie A after enduring a torrid first season in England following his £70m arrival.
Manchester United are interested in signing Willian from Chelsea this summer, according to Sky sources.
Sky Sports News understands the Brazilian is desperate to stay but his future depends on whether the club sacks Conte.
Clarity will be needed on the identity of Chelsea's manager next term before a clear picture of transfer targets can be deciphered.
But according to the Daily Telegraph, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski could be on his way to the Blues.
Paul Merson: "I wouldn't say Chelsea need a new manager because Antonio Conte is one of the best in the world but I do think he will leave and I just think it needs to be done sooner rather than later.
"Arsenal have done their business right as Unai Emery has now got time to improve his squad.
"Chelsea need to get it done quickly because if they don't get players in they won't win anything as anyone who comes in won't be better than Conte.
"I'm a big fan for Alvaro Morata's but I just don't know whether he's up to the Premier League week in week out so I think they'll sell him and get another striker in."
"I think they need strengthening at the back with a centre-half and another forward.
"I'm a big fan of Alvaro Morata's but I just don't know whether he's up to the Premier League week in week out so I think they'll sell him and get another striker in.
"Olivier Giroud has proven to be a great buy but I'd like to see another forward in. I'd like to see Robert Lewandoski but without Champions League football the price would have to be right."
Clues from the manager?
Former Chelsea full-back Wayne Bridge told Sky Sports this month that he believes the club have suffered from a "leadership problem" since the departures of Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard.
But Conte said after his side's 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final: "After two years the club knows me very well, and if they want to continue with me they know me, I can't change.
"My way is always the same, hard work and to build a strong mentality with my players. I can't change, I can't change.
"I think that my past speaks clear, as a player and as a manager, I repeat. You can say what you want but I'm a serial winner and I show this also in England, in a difficult moment for the club after 10th place, and I think that I have showed this also today because we found the right way to win this trophy.
"I am very happy for the players, the fans and I am happy for the club… in two years I brought two trophies, I am very happy."
But it would appear Conte is off, and an unwanted concern for the prospective new head coach is that owner Roman Abramovich is yet to have his UK visa renewed after it expired last month.
What are the odds?
According to Sky Bet, Maurizio Sarri is the 2/7 favourite to replace Conte after his departure from Napoli. It is understood that he has snubbed a move to Zenit St Petersburg due to his interest in the Chelsea job.
On the player front, Chelsea are third favourites to sign Anthony Martial (5/1), behind Juventus and Tottenham (2/1).
Leon Bailey is another player who is attracting a lot of attention, and the Blues are currently 10/1 to land the Bayer Leverkusen winger.
The club are only behind Liverpool to land Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles (4/1), while you can get odds of 20/1 that Chelsea pip Manchester City and Liverpool to land Napoli star Jorginho.
Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski is 8/1 to make the move from the Allianz Arena to Stamford Bridge, but Real Madrid remain the 2/1 favourites to sign the Poland striker.
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