Chelsea have been urged to give manager Antonio Conte free rein to stage a mass overhaul of the current squad this summer, allowing him to implement his philosophy at Stamford Bridge. Conte is expected to introduce the same tactics that helped Italy reach the European Championship quarter-finals with the Blues, after officially beginning his tenure on Monday (11 July).
The former Juventus coach's approach was much praised during the tournament in France, with the Azzurri pressing high up the pitch and using wing-backs to provide both steel and thrust in wide positions. Though the Italians were knocked out by Germany in the last eight, their run to the latter stages was seen as a great success given the dearth of individual talent available to them.
But in order for that philosophy to work from the outset at Chelsea, Conte must be allowed to make the necessary changes to an ageing squad that downed tools under Jose Mourinho. Former defender Marcel Desailly wants to see the new boss given all the resources he needs in the summer transfer window, and says he could make up to 10 changes in personnel.
"All the time I think he [Conte] is the right man before the start of the season," Desailly told Omnisport, according to the Evening Standard. "But he will be the right man if he is able to build up a team that matches with his own philosophy, meaning [the signing of] the kind of player he needs to develop his own tactics. So it looks like there's a lot of movement coming into Chelsea, they need to remove four or five players in and out to allow Conte to perform."
Michy Batshuayi became Conte's first signing as Chelsea boss when he joined from Marseille, but the most significant act since the 46-year-old was appointed saw captain John Terry handed a one-year contract extension. The former England skipper had looked like being on the way out of west London, but a U-turn from the club saw him remain and Desailly believes Conte played a part in the agreement.
"Maybe he [Conte] had power over it," the World Cup winner added, according to The Evening Standard. "Chelsea as the rule said look we don't give contracts out more than one year or they made a statement that they don't want John to stay.
"But then probably Conte said, 'wait, wait, wait, he's historic, let me discuss with him and explain to him what I want to do next season'. Maybe the discussion went very well so Chelsea in that case said we are ready to give a contract for another year to the leader of the team," he continued..