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Chelsea expected to finalize Antonio Conte deal this weekend

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Antonio Conte's making his shortlists and checking them twice.  Shortlists for new players (proper midfielders seem to be the order of the day, if we ignore silly nonsense like Giaccherini), shortlists for staff members (upwards of 10, apparently), shortlists for things to do once he takes over.

Rumors seems split on whether there will be a major overhaul, or if Conte will have a mandate to get the most out of the current squad without major changes (including the likes of Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic, and Oscar, to name a few).  Remember, Chelsea very specifically and categorically said after sacking Mourinho that we believe in this squad, in these players.  Plus, the old adage of "this isn't FIFA/FM" applies as well; it's not easy to simply get rid of dozens of players and bring in dozens more and expect all that to shake out into a title challenge.  So we'll see.  Surely, some fresh blood is badly needed.

The one thing rumors seem to agree on unilaterally is that Conte will be the next Chelsea manager.  All talk of other candidates has died away.  The exact timeline continues to shift, though that hardly seems that important.  The smart money looks to be on the deal getting announced before the start of the European Championship, to avoid any potential distractions.  Talks are ongoing, at the very least, and with another round of meetings expected this weekend, everything could be ironed out, signed, sealed, and delivered by next week.

Even if that doesn't quite happen, it's only a matter of time before Antonio Conte becomes Chelsea manager.