Chelsea’s first season under Antonio Conte proved to be a roaring success, with the Blues claiming their 6th top-flight title and coming close to securing the double, only to lose in the FA Cup final against Arsenal.
Expectations were very high from Chelsea in Conte’s second season but the scripts went awfully wrong. The Blues suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Newcastle United on the final day of the season last weekend. In a disastrous campaign, Conte’s men finished fifth in the league and missed out on Champions League football next term.
However, the Italian tactician would expect his team to end the season on a high by winning the FA Cup against Manchester United.
For Chelsea to challenge for major honours next term and beyond, here are three transfers they should look to complete in the summer.
Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)
After a bright start to his Chelsea career, Alvaro Morata faded off. Seeing Morata’s mighty dip in form, Conte signed Olivier Giroud from Arsenal in January and while the Frenchman has made an instant impact, Chelsea clearly lack attacking firepower.
Paris Saint-Germain’s hit-man Edinson Cavani could solve the goal-scoring woes for Chelsea next season. The Uruguayan is one of the best strikers in Europe and has scored a truckload of goals for the French champions this campaign.
Cavani has not spoken of his desire to leave PSG but things can change quickly in football and he could be persuaded into a new challenge should Chelsea show interest in him. That being said, the Blues would need to cough up a lot of money to lure the Uruguay international to Stamford Bridge.
Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)
Chelsea have looked thin in midfield and have been overrun at times this season despite possessing the likes of N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Tiemoue Bakayako, Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley.
Kante has been a standout performer in the midfield and has been well complemented by Fabregas. However, the likes of Drinkwater and Barkley have endured an injury-hit season which has provided them with very little chances of making an impact. Meanwhile, Bakayako has been considered as a big-money flop at Stamford Bridge this term.
This clearly indicates Chelsea’s need for a midfield enforcer next season as Conte would look to fine-tune the squad.
Arturo Vidal has been on the radar of Chelsea on a number of occasions in the last couple of years. From his position in the middle of the pitch, Vidal regularly breaks down opposition attacks and wins back possession. He has established himself as one of the most complete midfielders in Europe.
The Chilean is a midfield panzer, boasting of high energy, top dribbling skills and powerful shots. He can pass, tackle, run and score goals, which make him a finished product.
Having managed him at Juventus, Conte knows Vidal in and out and if the Italian persuades the midfielder, the Chilean would not turn down an offer to join the Blues in the summer, would he?
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
The Blues have been defensively very poor this season. Apart from Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, none of the defenders has done well.
Gary Cahill has had a nightmare of a campaign, while David Luiz has spent almost the entirety of the season out injured. Antonio Rudiger arrived amidst a lot of fanfare but has failed to live up to the billing.
This means strengthening the defence would be a priority for Conte if he hopes to mount a significant title challenge next season.
One of the most solid central defenders in Serie A for more than a year now, Senegalese international Koulibaly has been a £65m transfer target for Chelsea.
A strong and dominant presence at the back, Koulibaly is a reliable defender. Due to his composure on the ball, he is comfortable playing out from the back and never shies away from tackling. The Senegalese international reads the game very well, which means he rarely makes a mistake.
Koulibaly is an established centre-back and is the right man to solve Chelsea’s defensive conundrum next season.