Antonio Conte will arrive at Chelsea this summer, and the current Italy boss has a sizeable task on his hands to get the club back to the top.
A year on from lifting the Premier League trophy, Chelsea have altogether different objectives with two games remaining this season, as they look to secure their place in the top half of the table.
From Jose Mourinho’s sacking in December to a string of influential stars not playing to their full potential, it has been a season to forget for the Blues.
However, with Conte’s arrival comes renewed optimism. The former Juventus boss has a winning track record, and appears to have all the characteristics and philosophies needed to succeed in England.
Nevertheless, there are five key areas he will need to address and get right if he is to avoid a disappointing debut year in the Premier League.
Must find an adequate replacement for John Terry
With no suggestion that a new contract will be offered, it appears as though Chelsea’s influential captain will be moving on this summer.
Conte could have a say in the matter in the coming months if he wishes to see the former England international stay, but the likelihood is that he’ll need to scour the transfer market for a new defensive leader.
Chelsea have conceded 51 league goals this season, and that’s simply not good enough for a side looking to win major honours.
Either show faith in the current stars or move on
The likes of Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas have all fallen short of expectations this year, and in turn it poses a difficult situation for Conte.
Does the Italian look to rebuild their confidence and get them firing, or does he rip up the manual and get his own players in? For a man that hasn’t coached outside of Italy before, he may need to rely on some big personalities who are familiar with the club for one year at least.
Bring in young players capable of building future success
While Conte didn’t build a young nucleus at Juventus, given his reliance on old heads such as Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Pirlo, if a youngster was good enough then he would make the cut.
He isn’t going to stumble across another Paul Pogba any time soon, but he will need to either utilise young stars such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek as a squad player, or bring in others he believes in to build for the future and not just flesh out the squad.
Avoid the mistakes of his predecessors
From Mourinho to Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti and Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea have been through their fair share of managers in recent years.
Conte is strong-minded and will want to dictate a lot of what happens at Chelsea next season, but he’ll have to find a balance and keep owner Roman Abramovich happy. Success on the pitch is the obvious answer to that and the manner in which it is obtained.
Get unsettled stars believing in his project
Tying in with previous points, Conte needs to change the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge and get everyone back onside as building a strong team ethic is an important part of his management style.
Speculation has linked various star individuals with an exit this summer, but Conte’s arrival will in all likelihood lead to a positive and winning mentality being instilled in the group that will get them motivated.
Given his relentless approach and requirement to get maximum desire and effort from his players, this will be pivotal and potentially make or break.
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