Chelsea’s Transfer Window Review- Did Conte Fail In The Transfer Window?

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte

It has been a summer of hits and misses for Chelsea in the second summer transfer window under manager Antonio Conte.

The manager had sounded out the need for reinforcements to the squad even before the club had won the Premier League title last season and continued to echo his thoughts, despite little efforts being made to address that, which reportedly led to frustration and friction within the club.

However, with some more deadline day hara-kiri, as has become the norm at the Stamford Bridge in recent times, the club were able to salvage the summer window. Let’s take a look at the business that the club did, before getting into how they actually fared;

Major Outs: Nemanja Matic, Nathan Ake, Juan Cuadrado, Asmir Begovic, Bertrand Traore, Christian Atsu, Nathaniel Chalobah, John Terry, Loic Remy. Dominic Solanke

Major Loan Deals: Tammy Abraham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Lewis Baker, Tomas Kalas, Kurt Zouma, Jeremie Boga

The most hair-raising sale of the summer had to be the departure of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea to Manchester United for £40 million. Promising defender Nathan Ake was moved on for a great profit, along with a number of young players in Bertrand Traore (Lyon), Christian Atsu (Newcastle United), Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford) and Dominic Solanke (Liverpool).

Asmir Begovic was allowed to leave to join Bournemouth in order to resurrect his stagnated career, while John Terry bid goodbye after his contract expired along with Loic Remy, who was shipped late on deadline day.

And, as is the usual business, a horde of young players were loaned out to various clubs in Europe.

Major Ins: Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater, Antonio Rudiger, Davide Zappacosta, Willy Caballero

 

The club broke their transfer record in order to bring in striker Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, for £58 million, while the midfield was strengthened with the transfers of Tiemoue Bakayoko and the deadline day capture of Danny Drinkwater, for £40 million and £35 million respectively. Defensive reinforcements were brought in, in the form on Antonio Rudiger from AS Roma, and another deadline day signing of Davide Zappacosta from Torino.

How Did They Fare in The Window?

To start off with, the handling of the whole Diego Costa fiasco hasn’t been ideal, to say the least. The Spaniard was not part of the plans for the club and knowing his explosive nature, the whole situation could have been handled in a much better way. Having said that, the player has played a big role in creating the ruckus and the club are right on holding on to him until their demands are met, as a way of disciplining the mercurial striker.

Then, the other biggest talking point for Chelsea this transfer window has been how they haven’t been able to seal deals for their primary targets. Romelu Lukaku was their first choice to replace Costa, he ended up signing for Manchester United. Danilo was their first-choice for the right wing-back role, he was captured by Manchester City. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain snubbed them in the wee hours to sign for Liverpool and Ross Barkley declined a move after everything in place for a medical for the Englishman.

And the sale of Nemanja Matic, to a direct title rival, is no short of a blunder either. Yes, he is 29 years of age, yes, they recouped £40 million for him, but in effect, they have strengthened Manchester United boundlessly and the impact has already shown. The sale of young midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah, combined with loan deals for Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Lewis Baker was also somewhat contentious.

This does bring into question as to how the Chelsea transfer committee is being run. When you lose so many primary targets to your direct rivals, there has to be something fundamentally wrong with the way things are being operated and Michael Emenalo and Marina Granovskia need to be held accountable for this.

Having said that, it hasn’t been all bust for the Blues. They might have lost Lukaku, but in Morata they have managed to get in an equally able striker who has already settled in well, despite some concerns and looks good at the top. Tiemoue Bakayoko will add a great deal of energy and vibrancy to the midfield, is young and is a quality addition at £40 million. He will start proving his worth, once he is completely fit.

In Drinkwater, they have someone who knows what it takes at this level and has proven himself in the Premier League. The partnership of N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater worked wonders for Leicester, and Conte would be hoping for a repeat from the duo.

Rudiger is another who seems a very good fit on paper, but judging by his early displays, it does seem like he might take time getting used to the rigors of the Premier League. This does lead to questions as to why Nathan Ake was allowed to leave in the first place, given he could easily slot in in the heart of the defence and perform as a left-sided wing-back too.

Davide Zappacosta, a relatively unknown quantity for many PL fans, is another shrewd capture, despite many terming it to be another panic buy. The 25-year old is someone Conte has seen from close quarters and knows can get the job done. He will push Victor Moses for a starting spot and increase the quality of the squad.

Verdict

Yes, the players that they have brought in are solid and of good quality, however, having missed out on a number of top targets, it is unlikely that Conte will be satisfied with the business that was done this summer, given that they have only marginally improved on the squad. Especially with the demands of the Champions League football this year, the Blues could be found out in crunch times.

 

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