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Conte expects ‘great challenge’ next season, needs ‘right players’ for his ideas

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Everton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Just as last summer and in the winter, Antonio Conte’s primary aim in the transfer market is to sign the “right players” for the right price and the right fit. He wants to be supported in the transfer market, as any coach would, but he doesn’t want the club to spend money just for the fun of it. He hammered home this idea at the start of his tenure (welcome, N’Golo Kanté) and again in January (welcome, no major signings).

That of course doesn’t mean that we’ll end up acquiring all his targets or even his first- or second-choice options, but as we’ve seen with the likes of David Luiz and Marcos Alonso, as long as Conte is able to work with the new signings, we should be good.

The rest of the top six will be expected to strengthen however — especially the Manchester clubs — which means that we’ll have to rise to the next great challenge once again.

“This season my expectation was a great challenge in this League against Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool. Next season for us it will be the same. But we have one year to work and then the possibility to go into the market and choose the right players on my idea of football.”

Conte is of course highly unlikely to reveal any names as to who might these right players be, but if the rumors are anything to go by, they include at least one center forward (Lukaku, probably, but maybe still Morata or perhaps some third option like Belotti), one central midfielder (Bakayoko perhaps), one defender (Virgil van Dijk?), and hopefully one wing-back as well.

“Don't forget that Tottenham dropped out of the Champions League at the first group stage, and then dropped out in the first round of the Europa League (knock-out stage).”

“If you consider the amount of our games and their games, there is a difference of what, eight games? But if you consider the squads, the numbers in each squad, you can see the difference: one team prepared to play the Champions League with 25 or 26 players, and another who prepared to play the League, the FA Cup and the League Cup.”

“Do we need more players? Yes for sure.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard

While none of that rules out possible solutions from the academy and the loan army, chances are we’re looking at a very busy summer ahead.