Chelsea manager Antonio Conte plans to stage a mass overhaul over his squad between now and the end of the season as he approaches a decision regarding the future of a number of his first team players. The Blues claimed victory in their penultimate pre-season game against AC Milan in Minneapolis but despite the impressive display from a number of players they have been sent a stark warning over their future.
Goals from Bertrand Traore and a double from Oscar secured victory for Conte's side, with Giacomo Bonaventura's free-kick having initially drawn Milan level at the US Bank Stadium. Following defeat to Real Madrid victory returns the west London outfit back to winning ways in their final International Champions Cup fixture of the summer.
They now return to Europe to face Werder Bremen in Germany before their Premier League opener against West Ham United on 15 August. But prior to the visit of the Hammers, Conte is braced to rule over a throng of Chelsea's first team as he looks to streamline his squad ahead of the new campaign. The Italian will hold talks with club officials after the game in Bremen when he will attempt to make big changes.
"We have 30 players and four goalkeepers," said the Chelsea boss, who used 18 players in the win over Milan, according to The Evening Standard. "Now we have one game against Werder Bremen (on Sunday) and then we must take a decision – and I hope to take the best decision for the club. My ideas are very clear now, but first I must talk about these ideas with the club.
"It is normal when we go back to London that I will talk with the club. We will talk about these two weeks and what I have learned and I will also speak to all the players. My ideas are more clear than they were two weeks ago. It is normal when you have 30 players and in just 10 days we start our League. We have to get the right squad and the right numbers."
The Evening Standard understand that striker Loic Remy and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic could be among the players offloaded by Chelsea during the final four weeks of the transfer window, while Juan Cuadrado and Oscar may also become surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge. The latter made a timely contribution as Chelsea's American schedule came to an end, but Conte was non-committal over his future.
"Last season was bad for all the players – not just for Oscar," the former Juventus coach added. "He is a good player with a great talent but he can improve a lot. I see a good attitude and a good will and these 14 days have been important to me because I am judging the players during the training sessions so I can try to find the right solution.
"I think this match told me a lot about this and about the players who we will keep and the players we can send out on loan or sell. Today was important because my ideas are clearer than before."