Chelsea are on a run of five straight wins in the Premier League but Antonio Conte is anything but satisfied with the current state of his squad.
The Italian manager endured a tricky start to life at Stamford Bridge but a tactical tweak to his preferred 3-4-3 system has turned the Blues’ fortunes around with a series of imperious performances.
Without the added toils of European football to contend with this season, Chelsea are now judged to be well in the reckoning – along with Manchester City and Liverpool – for this year’s title by the majority of the bookies.
But if the latest reports on Conte’s transfer plans for when the next window opens in January are to be believed, some big changes could still be in the offing.
Despite the late summer additions of David Luiz and Marcos Alonso, Conte has generally had to work with the majority of the same squad who finished 10th last season.
However, according to The Telegraph, many of the players who are currently not being utilised by the manager will be allowed to leave as the Blues are expected to strengthen their options across all departments.
The four big names who could be on the move are Oscar, Cesc Fabregas, John Obi Mikel and Branislav Ivanovic – all of whom have struggled for playing time since Conte’s formation change.
Oscar still has two-and-a-half years to run on his current deal and Chelsea are thought to be expecting to recoup a similar £20 million fee that they paid for the Brazilian in 2012, with Inter Milan or China looking his most likely destinations.
Of all four, Fabregas has probably got the best chance of staying and is reportedly keen to fight for his place despite being behind N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic in the pecking order.
Meanwhile for Mikel and Ivanovic, their future at the club is arguably the bleakest. Both of their contracts expire at the end of the season and with Conte’s feet now firmly under the table at Stamford Bridge, it is extremely unlikely either will be wearing a Chelsea shirt this time next year.
Whether teams will offer a small fee for the pair’s services in January or wait it out until they are available on a free in the summer remains to be seen.
They are two of the longest-serving players at the club but that alone will not delay the inevitable.