As Alvaro Morata signed on the dotted line to complete his £58 million (rising to £70 million) move from Real Madrid, the Chelsea board knew what his arrival symbolised. After weeks and weeks of frustration pouring out on social media, those in charge of recruitment had shown that patience is key. It was worth the wait to see a young striker with the potential to become the next best Premier League goalscorer join the Champions.
Yet, while the arrival of Morata has calmed the fickle crowd and probably appeased Antonio Conte as well, there's still work to be done. The absence of Eden Hazard and newly recuited Tiemoue Bakayoko doesn't help matters while Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic have been frozen out in anticipation of their imminent exits. The head injury suffered by Pedro means there are only fifteen senior players in the squad at the moment. The departures of Kurt Zouma, Asmir Begovic, Nathan Ake, Nathaniel Chalobah, Dominic Solanke, John Terry and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have decimated Chelsea's depth, which was already weakened following the sales of Branislav Ivanovic, Oscar and Mikel John Obi in January. Heading into this summer, Marina Granovskaia and Michael Emenalo already had plenty on their plate. Now with less than three weeks left before the start of the new season, their tasks are overflowing.
Multiple recent media reports suggest the Board are well-aware of the need for new faces, with three to four signings expected to still arrive before the end of August.
A new wing-back or two are needed to provide competition for Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso, while a central midfielder is desperately required with just three players in that position currently assured to be at Chelsea this season. An injury to either Morata or Michy Batshuayi would leave the forward line very thin. At this stage, Chelsea need squad players as much as they do first teamers.
When the new season does kick off, and the Champions League comes calling just a month later, Conte will hope to have a squad capable of competing on all fronts. That usually means at least two players for each position as heavy rotation is expected. The current group of players have shown their quality in domestic competition but a much tougher fixture schedule is bound to have a negative impact.
Despite the success of last season and the promise of Conte’s Revolution, memories of the disastrous 2015 campaign continue to endure. The Board have to ensure another Premier League title defense doesn't end in a similar fashion. Credit to them, they have already bettered the woeful transfer window from two years ago and have provided solid backing to Conte, unlike, as Mourinho tells it, to Mourinho. But with the season just around the corner, the job to make Chelsea well-equipped for a title defense as well as European impact, is not done.