Following Chelsea's massively disappointing 2015/16 campaign, which was easily the worst Premier League title defense of all time, most fans and media expect major changes to the makeup of the Chelsea squad. On Thursday, The Telegraph published a piece suggesting that the changes we see might not be what we were expecting, though.
The Telegraph article starts off by discussing Blues captain John Terry, noting that Antonio Conte will have the final say on whether to bring the legend back for one more season, or simply allow him to leave the club. They note that the club could have interest in Leonardo Bonucci, a target we've been linked to since the Conte rumors began, pointing out that it would be a very difficult deal for the London club to actually close, though.
One deal involving Juventus which would likely be more likely to happen, however, would be the return of Juan Cuadrado. The Serie A side reportedly have an option to buy that they'd like to negotiate down, but given the success the Colombian has had in Italy this season, it sounds more likely that he'll be back in London than transferred at a cut-rate price:
Chelsea want Conte to work with the existing squad and do not anticipate major changes in the summer despite the dismal time they have had this season. They feel strongly that the best has not yet been seen of the current squad and the performance of Juan Cuadrado for Juventus against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night suggests strongly that the on-loan Colombian will be back at Cobham for pre-season training.
Another option that we've heard connected to the Blues if Terry doesn't return is recalling Andreas Christensen, whose loan is set to last through the end of the 2016/17 campaign. The Telegraph makes it sound as if bringing the Dane back early isn't likely, but notes that Chelsea still see him as a long term answer at Stamford Bridge:
Conte will be able to make some signings and if Terry leaves then the addition of a senior centre-back will be crucial. In the long-term, Chelsea have great faith that Andreas Christensen, the 19-year-old Danish international, will be capable of making the leap to the first team in the next few seasons, but in the meantime they would require a more experienced figure in that position.
Christensen isn't the only academy product who gets a mention:
There were four Chelsea academy graduates named in the England under-21s squad, more than any other club, including Lewis Baker and Dominic Solanke, both on loan at Vitesse Arnhem; Jon Swift, on loan at Brentford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is part of the first-team squad. The club believe that these players will, with the right development and loans, be suitable for their own first team soon.
The article also touches on the never-ending rumors that Diego Costa will be sent packing, even if ridiculous rumors like this one from Don Balon are best laughed off as the ridiculous trash that they are:
The club will also look at striker options if Conte decides that Diego Costa can leave the club. Edinson Cavani, of Paris Saint-Germain; Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain and the Juventus striker Simone Zaza, an Italy international, are all under consideration.
It will certainly be an interesting summer for Chelsea fans, as the conflicting reports on basically everything associated with the players' comings and goings leave me without a clue as to what we might actually be planning. The days when you could just rely on management and the board to make the obvious, common sense transfer decisions is a relic of the past, unfortunately. Here's hoping that changes for the better, this summer.