With the Euros over, Antonio Conte has now assumed his role as Chelsea manager, with today being his first day at Cobham.
Whilst there were some wary Blues when the appointment was announced, most are excited for the Italian to get down to work following the exploits of Italy in France.
Defensively sound, impressive going forward and more than able to match any team they faced, it would be easy to forget that many decried this as the worst Italian team in the last 50 years.
Excitement has built around the Italian and what he can do with a Chelsea side in need of a ‘pick me up’ after finishing 10th last season.
Last summer Chelsea were gun shy in the transfer market and only really got things going after the season had started and things weren’t going their way, signing Pedro from Barcelona and Baba Rahman from Augsburg.
But this summer they have already signalled their intent signing Michy Batshuyai from Marseille for £33m and Football Fanzone’s Jason Cundy believes this is the start of things to come under Conte at Stamford Bridge.
I like what I’ve seen of Michy Batshuayi already and he seems a good young striker. Some will look at his 23 goals for Marseille last term and turn their nose up at it, but of those goals were strikes against PSG who are head and shoulders better than every one in Ligue 1, as well as against Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League.
Most interesting is how he will be used, with it seeming likely that he will be part of a front 2. We saw at the Euros that Antonio Conte set up Italy with 3 at the back and a front 2, and we could see the same at Stamford Bridge. It now begs the question, what will the back line be like?
That formation worked for Italy because of the solid base of Juventus defenders Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini and if Chelsea replicate that Kurt Zouma will be key to this system. John Terry has signed a new one year deal and I can only see him playing in the middle of that 3. The club has also been linked with moves for Bonucci as well as Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The addition of one of these two should and steel to a backline but could also affect the amount of game time Terry sees. The type of defender Chelsea sign will be interesting, a ball player means Terry could suffer whilst a Chiellini type then means Cahill will likely miss.
It’s good to see Chelsea kicking off the summer the right way after the inactivity of last summer, and I think this will create further excitement amongst fans who are already chomping at the bit for Conte’s proper arrival.
The Italian looks every bit a Chelsea manager, he is aggressive, animated and tactically astute and this signing is getting him off to a good start.