After the disaster that was last season, Chelsea will be under Antonio Conte next season as the former Juventus manager looks to restore their lost pride. Chelsea recorded the worst title defence in the history of Premier League after the 2014-2015 champions finished 10th on the table, having been near relegation zone for much of the season. The second half revival was mainly due to the good work of Guus Hiddink, who was brought in as the interim manager in place of Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager was sacked mid-way last season after a horrible start to the campaign.
Doubts remain over the future of some of the players, who will need to work hard in the coming few weeks to prove their value to the team. Conte knows that he needs to bring some quality new players this summer if the Blues are going to compete for Champions League qualification next season. With new arrivals, there will also be a few departures. One thing we have learnt from Conte in the past is that he will not be willing to carry passengers, he doesn’t much believe in past glories and likes his players to work hard and perform on a consistent basis.
One player who will sweat over his future at Stamford Bridge is Brazilian international Oscar. Although he has clearly stated his desire to stay at the club, there are rumours linking him with a move to the Serie A. The 24-year-old arrived at Chelsea from Internacional for a transfer fee of £20m. He started off brilliantly as he scored two goals from range against Juventus in a Champions League encounter. He did well under Jose Mourinho, which prompted the manager too often pick him ahead of Spanish midfielder Juan Mata. However, Oscar has never been able to contribute consistently through a full campaign. He has produced moments of brilliance but those have been few and far between.
Last season Oscar picked up a serious injury in August and failed to claim a starting place under the interim manager Guus Hiddink. Although he has scored 38 goals for the Blues in 189 appearances, the problem is his numbers have reduced with each passing season. Oscar is a technically gifted player, who can walk into any top side in England. What he lacks in physical strength, he more than makes up for it with excellent vision and passing ability.
Conte has been a huge admirer of Oscar, ever since the youngster scored against his former team Juventus. A player who thrives when he has the confidence of the coach, Oscar is definitely going to part of Conte’s plans for next year.