Chelsea made four big-money additions to their squad this summer as Antonio Conte looks to sustain their impressive start to the Premier League campaign.
The Blues have registered three straight wins to start the season, but the weaknesses in their squad were obvious as the frustrating wait for new signings went on.
Having missed out on various top targets over the summer, Marcos Alonso and David Luiz eventually arrived on deadline day, adding to the acquisitions of Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante.
While the Belgian striker and Premier League champion arrived in good time, it was almost seen as an early statement of intent from Chelsea about how they were going to rebuild under their new coach.
However, it didn’t quite work to plan and they’ll have to hope that they’ve done enough to maintain their current form and continue to compete at the top of the table.
There is no real debate on the signing of Kante, as ultimately he’s a game-changer as witnessed last year in terms of adding energy, drive and defensive coverage in Chelsea’s midfield.
Batshuayi has already proven he can make a decisive impact behind Diego Costa, and so as far as those two signings are concerned, they should have a hugely positive influence on the squad this year.
Alonso is also a smart signing, as the Spaniard has improved significantly during his time with Fiorentina, and his versatility allows him to play in various positions.
Defensively sound and with a wonderful left foot, he’ll hope to play his part for the Premier League giants moving forward, but it’s the re-signing of Luiz that has raised major question marks.
French football expert Julien Laurens insisted on Wednesday that the Brazilian international will come back a worse player compared to when he left Stamford Bridge two years ago, and that doesn’t bode well for the club.
Admittedly, you can’t dismiss the Conte effect entirely as he’ll certainly get the best out of him, but whether that’s enough to avoid him becoming a liability at times remains to be seen.
All in all, Conte has done what he has had to do in a difficult first transfer window as Chelsea boss, although given their form last season, selling Mohamed Salah to Roma and loaning Juan Cuadrado back to Juventus will be costly moves.
The pair could easily have fit into his team and played key roles for the Italian tactician this season, but they’ve both now moved on and Conte will be relatively confident he has enough in his squad, with a re-energized and committed Eden Hazard leading the charge.
Transfers in: Michy Batshuayi – Marseille, N’Golo Kanté – Leicester City. Marcos Alonso – Fiorentina, David Luiz – PSG.
Transfers out: Mohamed Salah – Roma, Papy Djilobodji – Sunderland, Juan Cuadrado – Juventus (loan).