Speculations about the future of Massimiliano Allegri are intensifying.
The Italian manager features in the front pages of every sport paper out in Italy this morning.
According to Tuttosport the Italian is keen to remain at Juventus and snub a move to Chelsea as he wants to coach a Champions League club next season.
There are, however several other reports linking the Italian with a move away from Juventus.
According to Il Corriere dello Sport Abramovich has put Allegri on top of his shortlist to replace Conte who will be sacked at the end of the current campaign.
According to the report, Allegri could be offered € 14 million-a-year, the same salary of José Mourinho at Manchester United.
The Italian is expected to get Chelsea’s top stars back on track after the last disappointing campaign.
The Italian paper also reports that the Juventus boss would like three of his current players to follow him at Stamford Brige: the likes of Federico Bernardeschi, Miralem Pjanic and Rodrigo Bentancur would become summer transfer targets for Chelsea if Allegri moves to South West London in the summer.
Opinion: Chelsea Face The Biggest Challenge Of The Abramovich Era
Stars looking to leave, an unhappy manager, and no Champions League football on the horizon. Chelsea Football Club is in crisis mode.
It is likely the worst kept secret in football that Antonio Conte will part ways with Chelsea at the end of this season, with the Londoners likely to be searching for their 11th different permanent manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.
The constant churning of high-quality managers by the Russian billionaire has drawn plenty of criticism but yet Chelsea still regularly pick up silverware.
However, things are different this time around.
It is clear that Conte is unhappy over the way the club is run, particularly in relation to some questionable transfer business.
Of course, the manager has to take some of the flak as it was his decision to isolate star striker Diego Costa but the sale of key midfielder Nemanja Matic to direct rivals in Manchester United was bizarre. Matic has excelled at Old Trafford while his replacement at Stamford Bridge, Tiemoue Bakayoko has been a flop this season.
Chelsea used to be the top dogs in the transfer market as they went about their business with ruthless efficiency in order to get what they want.
Now, the opposite could be said. Their scatter gun approach to the transfer market is alien to the Chelsea of old.
The signings of Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley have failed to deliver. Chelsea needed a bigger squad this season with Champions League football but they also needed quality in depth.
The poor recruitment and losses of two major influences in their title success in Costa and Matic has really told on the pitch. It is a Chelsea team that lacks the leadership that John Terry provided down through the years.
Manchester City are the perfect example of possessing the quality in depth needed to be successful. The fact that Chelsea are now a staggering 28 points behind Pep Guardiola’s side tells its own story.
The recent painful defeat to bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur has left the Blues eight points adrift of the top four with just seven games remaining.
It looks almost certain that Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham will join City in next season’s Champions League, leaving Chelsea staring down the barrel of Europa League football next season.
As well as a change of manager, major changes to the squad are needed. Real Madrid are sniffing around goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and talisman Eden Hazard. The loss of Hazard in particular would be a monumental blow. The Belgian wants to progress his career to the next level, and it is unlikely that can occur at Stamford Bridge. The Bernabeu offers the perfect stage for guaranteed success.
With no Champions League football on the horizon, Chelsea will struggle to attract the quality needed to return to the glories of last season. Lacking the glamour and grandeur of the likes of Manchester United, it will be a difficult task for Chelsea to sign elite world class players.
This is now Abramovich’s biggest challenge since he took the reins at Chelsea. In a transfer market dominated by
the two Manchester clubs, they will need to find the right manager, and utilise their scouting network to unearth some of the market’s top stars.
It is not difficult to concede that Chelsea may not play Champions League again for a number of years.