It’s still fairly early days in the transfer window yet Chelsea fans are growing increasingly concerned about the lack of transfer activity at Stamford Bridge so far.
Amid rumours Antonio Conte is unhappy at how slow his negotiators have been in wrapping up anticipated deals for Romelu Lukaku and Tiemoue Bakayoko, uncertainty is growing amongst supporters.
Conte earmarked some of his key targets as far back as March when Lukaku’s revelation over not signing a new contract strengthened Chelsea’s hand in negotiations but he still remains an Everton player.
And with Corentin Tolisso moving to Bayern Munich yesterday, the fanbase’s patience is beginning to show signs of wearing thin as Chelsea look to make their first statement in the transfer window.
The well-documented pursuit of Tiemoue Bakayoko suggests Tolisso never featured highly on Conte’s list of transfer targets, particularly with the Italian keeping one eye on his international compatriot Marco Verratti’s next move after informing PSG of his desire to leave.
But with Conte eager to bring in the players he feels will complement his existing options, the need for either the Lukaku or Bakayoko deals to cross the line has become greater.
Conte has identified four key areas after a season of assessing the weak points of his squad.
Last year he signed a centre-back, left-back, central midfielder and a striker – and there is every chance those areas will be the exact same positions he attempts to bolster this summer.
Interest is retained in Virgil van Dijk after his Liverpool move collapsed spectacularly while a move for Leonardo Bonucci is being explored in case the Dutchman’s price tag proves prohibitive.
His signing of David Luiz late on in the window was not particularly planned for as higher-level targets were initially targeted and he is determined to land his top targets this time round as Conte seeks competition in the heart of his backline.
Bakayoko and Lukaku will fill the central midfield and striker roles, though interest in Verratti hints at Conte overhauling his midfield options amid Manchester United’s determination to acquire Nemanja Matic.
Plans to reinforce the left-hand side of the Chelsea side with Alex Sandro and Ryan Bertrand amongst the names being linked suggests Conte feels he can also upgrade on Marcos Alonso.
Luiz, Alonso, PFA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi formed the first stage of the process to varying degrees of success.
But in order for Chelsea to compete on multiple fronts this season Conte believes he needs a greater number of options in various positions.
And given the players the Blues have been linked to in recent weeks, it hints at the untouchables in this Chelsea team.
The Blues’ success in keeping Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois has been overlooked in the midst of their struggles to finalise incoming transfers but should be celebrated.
The duo were targets for Real Madrid but both they and Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Kante form the core of Conte’s 2017/18 team.
James Rodriguez is not a priority for Chelsea, but persistent links suggest a tentative interest in the Colombian and only one man would make way to accommodate him if he did arrive – it isn’t Hazard.
Lukaku would be expected to replace the wantaway Diego Costa, Bakayoko would be considered a more athletic equivalent to Matic while Gary Cahill would be the likeliest to drop from the XI if a new defender arrives.
The FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal proved an upgrade is needed on Victor Moses and a defender could end up pushing Azpilicueta into a role he played infrequently last season as more of an advanced full-back.
It all points to a busy summer for Conte and Chelsea as he continues to mould the Blues into his image.