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Fabregas hints at Conte losing battle over start date of Chelsea pre-season

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Fabregas says preseason starts tomorrow while Conte supposedly insisted it would only start on Monday...

ICC Singapore Training Session Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images for ICC

I’m a little hesitant at reading too much into a tweet that was part of a banterlicious exchange between Michy Batshuayi and Cesc Fabregas following Belgium’s excellent 2-1 win over Brazil in the quarterfinals of the World Cup on Friday, but Fabregas clearly states that Chelsea preseason is starting this weekend and that’s important for a couple reasons.

The first is the obvious one: preseason finally is here! No idea who’s actually in charge, but hey, preseason is here! It was originally set to start last week like it did for several other teams including Liverpool and Arsenal (and for the Chelsea youth and development/loanee squads), but it was pushed back a week due to the managerial uncertainty. The season starts in five weeks; no time left to waste!

The second is a more convoluted one, stemming from the uncertainty regarding the head coaching position at Stamford Bridge. A story earlier this week claimed that Conte, who’s still set to take charge of preseason since Sarri has not been appointed yet, disagreed with the random staff member at the club who reminded players that those not at the World Cup were expected to report back this weekend. Conte apparently insisted that preseason only starts on Monday. And yet here is Fabregas saying that it starts “tomorrow”, which is either referring to Saturday or Sunday, but definitely not Monday. Fabregas’s Instagram story confirms that he’s back from vacation as of a few hours ago, so he’s certainly ready to go.

Both Cesc and Conte could be right of course, as the initial days might be spent just getting situated again, taking a couple baseline tests and so on, with the real work starting on Monday. It’s already been confirmed that former fitness coach Chris Jones, who joined Frank Lampard’s staff at Derby this summer, will be helping out at Cobham until the coaching landscape is settled, for example.

Cesc could also just flat out be incorrect in his understanding of when preseason starts, which of course would tell a story in and of itself, of Chelsea’s massively disorganized and miscommunicated summer of inaction thus far.

What’s certain is that it’s yet another intriguing wrinkle to an already worrying situation.