English Premiership

Chelsea: Where they need to improve

Antonio Conte (Gallo Images)
Antonio Conte (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - As the opening of the transfer window beckons, the managers of the Premier League are already focused on next season.

The transfer window is a period that could make or break the first-half of the season for any club in top flight football.

With the 'top four' seemingly turning into a 'top six' over the past few years, the managers of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City will all look to improve their squads.

In a series of six articles, Sport24's Tashreeq Vardien takes an in-depth look as to which areas each club need to improve to make their 2017/18 season a success.

Tottenham: Where they need to improve

CHELSEA (manager - Antonio Conte)

It was a dominant maiden season for Antonio Conte in the Premier League but the Blues won the league without participating in the UEFA Champions League.

The former Juventus mentor spent £122.25m during the summer transfer window and lured N'golo Kante, David Luiz, Michy Batshuayi and Marcus Alonso to Stamford Bridge.

With European football on the map for the Premiership champions next season, Conte will need to further bolster his squad if they are to challenge on all fronts.

Kante claimed that the Blues are out to make history and win all four major trophies on offer next season (Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League).

If that is the case, Conte needs to spend the reportedly £200m given to him by club owner Roman Abramovich wisely.

Chelsea need to bring in a defender either as cover or to challenge for Gray Cahill or Luiz's spot in the starting XI. Southampton's Virgil van Dijk is said to be their prime target, with Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng's name being thrown into the mix as well.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised over whether Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake will remain at the club despite both players showing great potential.

Conte's 3-4-3 formation proved to work in the Premier League which saw London rivals Arsenal and Spurs follow suit.  

The Pensioners have always been particularly rich in midfield stocks but a little competition is always welcome.

It has been rumoured that Conte is interested in signing Monaco star Tiemoue Bakayoko despite having Kante, Nemenja Matic and Cesc Fabregas to choose from in that central midfield role.

Bringing in another striker could signal Conte's seriousness of wanting to claim four major trophies in a single campaign.

Former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge as Diego Costa looks to fled London for Atletico Madrid - Costa has revealed that he will only say 'adios' if it means he could return to Los Colchoneros.

Lukaku will not return cheaply though as Everton have placed a £70m price tag on the Belgian. 

The return of Lukaku could mean that Batshuayi will remain an understudy at Chelsea having only made 20 appearances for the club in the past season.

Chelsea could also recall Bertrand Traore from Ajax Amsterdam. The Burkina Faso forward, who can play as a winger or a striker, has had a phenomenal season in the Netherlands. The Ajax loanee looks to be the real deal having helped the Amsterdam club to the Europa League final in which they lost 2-0 to Manchester United.

With a bigger pool of players to choose from and more games on Chelsea's roster, it will be interesting to see if they can compete on all fronts and defend their Premier League crown...

Tashreeq Vardien works at Sport24 and is a paper basketball dustbin champion... Follow Tashreeq on Twitter.

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