Antonio Conte’s Chelsea opened up a seven-point gap over the Spurs in the Premier League points table with a victory over Southampton recently and moved closer to the Premier League title. However, with Tottenham winning their game against Crystal Palace last night, the gap was restored to 4 points again. Nevertheless, they are still favourites to win the title. The Italian manager will be happy with the progress his side has made in his first season in England but will surely find it hard to replicate it next season.
Chelsea have a decent squad that can be consistent but with clubs around them sure to improve their squads by spending big this summer, the Blues cannot afford to go with a similar lineup next season. Conte has been looking at some of the best players in Europe for a move this summer and here are two such players who can help his side lift the title next season as well:
Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)
The Southampton star is currently out injured and may not play again this season but he has done enough before the injury to establish himself as one of the best defenders in England. Also wanted by every top Premier League club, Chelsea have been in contact with the £50m rated van Dijk over a possible move this summer and Conte should do everything to get this deal done in the summer. Having spent more than a season now in England, Van Dijk has been effective in a strong defensive setup at the St Mary’s and his consistency should see him walk into the first team at Stamford Bridge.
David Luiz has done a decent job as a sweeper while Gary Cahill has also been solid. But Conte might not use the duo together as the first-choice next season and Van Dijk, if he moves to Chelsea, is expected to hog one of those positions. With Azpilicueta still at his best, a backline including the Spaniard and the Dutchman should be up there with the best in the league.
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Though Arsenal will not be ready to sell their best player to direct rivals, meeting his £50m valuation can see Chelsea pressurise the Gunners into selling their prized asset this summer. The Chilean international is in the form of his life this season, scoring 24 goals and picking up 18 assists in all competitions this season. However, he is unsettled at the Emirates due to the lack of progress and is yet to sign a new contract, even with less than 18 months left on his current deal.
Wenger is still looking to persuade him to put pen to paper but if Sanchez decides not to, Conte should be ready to pounce on him. It is not surprising that Sanchez is one of the most exciting players in Europe at the moment. He is a consistent, hardworking player who is sure to walk into the first team at Chelsea and a front line of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, and Alexis Sanchez can scare even the best defences not just in England but also in Europe.