It’s been a disappointing season at Stamford Bridge, despite victory in the FA Cup final, as the Europa League and, more pertinently, plenty of uncertainty looms ahead in the near future.
Let’s take a look at what Chelsea should do in order get back their mojo next year.
1. Be proactive to put together a decent transfer window
I used the word “decent” because a “good” transfer season is too much to ask for from Chelsea transfer at the moment. A nearly shambolic transfer window ahead of Jose Mourinho’s third season at Chelsea in 2015, and a repeat of the same ahead of Conte’s second season have resulted in similar endings.
We don’t need to splash the cash far and wide like the Manchester clubs, but at least one or two key, high quality signings are needed. Let’s not wait for the whole transfer season to pass by and then buy players in a panic. Save for a few lucky exceptions, these hasty decisions don’t work as well as well-timed, properly executed transfer plans. Be proactive in the transfer market so that we can go into next season with a consolidated team.
2. Keep hold of Eden Hazard
Hazard had an inconsistent season, but he is the still the talisman Chelsea need and he must be kept at all cost.
Any manager, be that Conte or Sarri or whoever else, would surely make him the centerpiece of the squad once again. With proper support (see task no.1), Hazard can still rise to greater heights and deliver domestic and continental success at Stamford Bridge.
3. Give Bakayoko a second chance
The signing of Tiémoué Bakayoko after a stellar season at AS Monaco was supposed to be a positive move, and he was expected to start building a strong midfield partnership with N’Golo Kante. However, this did not go according to plan. Injuries and other factors, such as Matić pushing for a move, scuppered Conte’s well-laid plans and the season has been one to forget for the 23-year-old. His passing has been at times appalling, his tackling rash and ill-timed, and his ball retention awful, often in critical moments. He’s come under severe criticism from fans and pundits alike.
But, he needs to be given a second chance. His late season showings have been more promising and he wouldn’t be the first player to have some growing pains in his first season in England. The club, the player, and the head coach must work together so that Bakayoko can do what is expected of him and provide proper justification for his £40 million transfer.
4. Buy a striker
As much Olivier Giroud has been a lucky charm and a credible source of goals, Chelsea need another striker. Far too often neither Plan A nor Plan B have succeeded this season.
Morata, like Bakayoko, should be given a second chance to properly adjust to the English game, but even if he manages to get his game back in order, Chelsea’s lack of goals this season surely call for further reinforcements. And if he continues to struggle, the need for a third option becomes even greater.
5. Keep Antonio Conte
We should give Antonio Conte another season. And when I say another season, I mean a season where he is given the resources he needs to mount a title challenge and also perform well in the Europa League.
There may have been plenty of friction this season between the head coach, the board, and even the players, but those are issues that can be solved without resorting to yet another sacking, yet another reboot of the constant Chelsea cycle.
If results remain the same, we can come to a conclusion that Conte is indeed not the man to take Chelsea forward. Sure, it’s risky, but no managerial appointment is without any inherent risk. Letting a serial winner like Conte go — not that he won the FA Cup despite very few actually believing he could do it — especially for a coach without a similar record of success, would not only be unfair but would actively hinder Chelsea’s own ambitions.