Pre-season has begun, but there’s still no clarity on the managerial situation at Chelsea. Antonio Conte remains in charge, even though the Italian manager is expected to make way for ex-Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri this summer.
Such uncertainty doesn’t bode well for a title challenge, so fans might have to keep their expectations low in 2018/19 as a result.
Uncertainly on and off the pitch
It’s been nearly two months since the 2017/18 season ended and Chelsea have made no progress in regard to their coaching staff and player recruitment. After finishing outside of the Champions League places for the second time in three seasons, big changes were expected at Stamford Bridge this summer.
Unfortunately for supporters, however, 2018/19 could be an underwhelming campaign based on how poor preparations have been so far. Chelsea have five weeks to strengthen the side before the summer transfer window shuts and they don’t appear close to signing anybody.
For all the credit Roman Abramovich has received after celebrating his 15th year as Chelsea owner, he’s tarnishing his legacy due to his inactivity this summer. Online betting sites place Chelsea at 12/1 to win the Premier League title this season, but it’s hard to see the Blues even finishing in the top-four.
Top players likely to leave due to lack of recruitment
Let alone the struggle to bring new players to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea may have a mammoth task convincing existing ones to stay. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois reportedly turned down a contract extension and admitted he’s prepared to see out his contract next year.
His Belgian teammate Eden Hazard could follow him out the exit door too. The 27-year-old has openly admitted him staying at Stamford Bridge depends on the signings the club make this summer. If Chelsea lose two of their most important players, they don’t stand a chance of challenging for the title in 2018/19, with or without Sarri being in charge.
The squad is full of players not living up to their true potential – Alvaro Morata, Pedro Rodriguez, Tiemoué Bakayoko, Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater, David Luiz, Gary Cahill – but until they install a manager, recruitment will remain non-existent this summer.
Abramovich has a lot to answer to, as the managerial situation is being delayed due to a failure to agree a compensation fee. Chelsea are suffering due to the constant uncertainty and lack of clarity and it could affect them on the pitch next season too.