The Chelsea managerial saga which began ever since the Blues sacked fan favourite Jose Mourinho last year, could finally be coming to an end, with Italy manager Antonio Conte reportedly agreeing a deal to take over at Stamford Bridge next season.
Chelsea have predominantly been linked with three managers in the media of late, with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Juventus’s Massimiliano Allegri and Italy national team manager Antonio Conte all reportedly on Roman Abramovich’s list.
However, Italian news outlet Gazzetta Dello Sport [via Goal.com] have claimed that Conte has agreed terms with Chelsea in principle, and will be ready to take over at the Stamford Bridge next season.
Conte’s appointment is the most financially viable for the Blues, as his contract with the Italian national team runs out after the end of EURO 2016.
Will Conte retain Terry?
The big question that comes with any managerial appointment at Chelsea is whether the new manager has a place for the Chelsea captain in his plans. The 35-year-old defender sparked a lot of debate about his future when he announced that he might be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season.
However, Terry has expressed his desire to stay at Stamford Bridge, if the club decide to offer him a contract extension. That decision might well be up to the future manager at Chelsea, and if Antonio Conte were to take over, it will be interesting to see if the Italian retains the veteran centre-half’s services.
Based on the 46-year-old’s track record, one could argue that he would probably not need Terry’s services at the club. Of course, Terry is always useful as a leader of the squad, but tactically speaking, the Chelsea captain does not seem to fit into Conte’s general formation.
The Italian has favoured the 3-5-2 formation and has been hugely successful with Juventus using that set-up, winning three consecutive Serie A titles in his time in Turin. In fact, Conte has also favoured that formation with the Italian national side, which suggests there is a good chance he will attempt to use it if he takes over at Chelsea.
However, the main concern for Terry is that the back three in a 3-5-2 need to be quick, and the former England captain has never had any pace. Conte would have relatively quicker defenders like Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, and Kurt Zouma in the back three.
One problem with this is that the Blues currently do not have a left-footed centre-back. Cahill, Ivanovic, Zouma, and even new signing Matt Miazga are all right-footed.
Creative players to go for a toss?
While there is extensive use of wingers or wing-backs in Conte’s style of football, there is little scope for the advanced playmakers like Oscar. Of course, the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian, and Pedro can always be used on the wing, but Conte would want greater defensive work-rate from them, as they would have to essentially double up as the full-backs while defending.