According to reports, Antonio Conte is set to leave Chelsea with former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique being lined up to replace him.
Conte lifted the FA Cup as his team beat Manchester United at Wembley, thanks to Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty.
Under Conte, the Blues have slid dramatically after being a dominant force in the Premier League last season as they cruised to the title. Furthermore, the Blues missed out on a Champions League spot this term after finishing outside the top-four.
Failure to compete for the title and secure a top-four spot has put Conte’s future at Stamford Bridge in jeopardy, despite the former Italy boss winning the FA Cup last weekend.
However, Enrique is reportedly being lined up by the Blues, as the Spaniard eyes a return to management after his one-year hiatus from the game. Enrique has been out of a job since stepping down at Barcelona last summer.
Should Chelsea appoint Enrique as their manager in the coming days, here are three top signings that the Spaniard must complete.
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
Chelsea struggled defensively in the recently concluded season as they looked goals at a premium rate despite possessing top defenders in their ranks.
If Enrique replaces Conte, the Spaniard must try to sign a reliable centre-back to plug the gaps in Chelsea’s leaky defence. One player who has been heavily linked with a £65m move to Chelsea is Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
Koulibaly enjoyed another stellar campaign as Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus in the Serie A. Strong in the air and quick when it comes to one-to-one duels against his opponents, Koulibaly is a top defender. The Senegalese is a ball-playing defender, reads the game well and is very rarely flustered under pressure situations.
There is a huge potential for Koulibaly to become one of the best defenders in Europe. The Blues must go all out to sign the Napoli defender in summer.
Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan)
Icardi has established himself as one of Europe’s most in-demand strikers this term by scoring 29 times in 34 Serie A matches.
The Argentine has been on Chelsea’s radar for quite some time now and Enrique must break the bank to sign one of Europe’s best goalscorers.
Star quality, leadership and the ability to score goals from anywhere on the field, Icardi could be a top potential replacement for Alvaro Morata, who has been heavily linked with a move to Juventus.
Morata started the season very well but faded in the second half, which prompted Conte to sign Olivier Giroud from Arsenal in January. While Giroud has done well so far, Chelsea must sign a clinical striker in the summer transfer window.
Getting Icardi may be the answer to Chelsea’s goalscoring problems but it will be tough to lure the 25-year-old, particularly after Inter snatched Champions League qualification from Lazio’s grasp, thanks to a 3-2 triumph against them on Sunday.
Jean Michael Seri (OGC Nice)
Tiemoue Bakayoko arrived at Chelsea amidst a lot of fanfare, having guided Monaco to the league title last season. The Frenchman was signed to replace Nemajic Matic but things haven’t gone as per plan for Conte.
Bakayoko struggled to cope with the intensity of the Premier League, constantly giving away possession and rarely tracking back to recover the ball. He has been deemed as a big-money flop after just a season at Stamford Bridge.
It is unjust to judge a player after one season but Enrique should move on from Bakayako and bring in a new midfielder to partner N’Golo Kante. One player who can be a smash hit in Chelsea colours is OGC Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri.
Seri had his breakthrough season last year with Nice and has since garnered a lot of attention from some of Europe’s top clubs. His main asset is his passing ability and is also good at delivering killer through balls. The Ivorian is an effective tackler, intercepts very well and he hardly loses concentration during the game.
Seri’s style of play should suit Chelsea and he looks like the perfect partner for Kante.