Antonio Conte
Conte shifts focus to Chelsea following the end of Euro 2016. Getty


  • New Blues boss begins working with squad this week.
  • Chelsea head off for Austria for beginning of pre-season camp on Friday.
  • John Terry replacement and future of Juan Cuadrado among issues to be addressed.

While Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola were introduced to a backdrop of media frenzy and fanfare last week, Antonio Conte's reign as Chelsea manager begins on a rather more subdued note today (11 July).

The former Italy manager is unlikely to even get the chance to address the press before he and his squad set out to Austria for their first preseason camp which starts with a friendly match against Rapid Vienna on Saturday.

It's been over three months since Chelsea officially appointed their man and in that time, plenty has changed. So what are the most important issues waiting on the 46-year-old's in-tray? IBTimes UK considers the biggest issues the Italian is faced with as the new season begins to come into focus.

Chelsea's ever-changing transfer targets

Even before Conte's official appointment, speculation as to who he would be bringing with him from Italy was rife. First it was Miralem Pjanic. Then it was Paul Pogba. The former has since joined the coach's former club Juventus while the latter could now be on the verge of a record-breaking move to Manchester United. Roma's Radja Nainggolan appeared to be Conte's priority midfield signing but the Belgium international has rejected offers from Stamford Bridge to continue at the Giallorossi. His countryman Axel Witsel would appear to be an alternative option.

The future of Juan Cuadrado

The 28-year-old Colombia international was one of Serie A's most coveted players before joining Chelsea in January 2015. An underwhelming first six months in West London where he made just four starting appearances saw a return to Italy beckon last summer where he helped Juventus to a fifth consecutive Serie A crown. While Juventus do not have a contractual option to sign the player on a permanent basis, his impact last season would suggest the Bianconeri are certainly ready to make that happen. That could all change if Conte wants the player in his squad this season, as reports have suggested. With preseason about to get underway, a final decision is imminent.

Juan Cuadrado
Cuadrado could yet have a future at Stamford Bridge. Getty

Will 3-5-2 become the new Chelsea blueprint?

Conte's penchant for a 3-5-2 formation could impact a number of players including Cuadrado, who could find a tailor-made role for himself at right wing-back under the Italian. The manager used that formation in leading Juventus to three Scudetto successes during his spell in charge and again with Italy, culminating in that excellent Euro 2016 campaign. The arrival of Michy Batshuayi makes the option of two up front very feasible; his return of 17 goals and nine assists last season could also mean a first-team role beckons. But will he and Diego Costa be the automatic partnership? Eden Hazard will surely be pushed into a more advanced position in the event of the new tactic being implemented.

John Terry future may be resolved, but replacement still needed

Just when it appeared Terry's 18-year Chelsea career was coming to an end, Conte prompted the decision that saw the club captain handed a new deal. While it does mean the skipper will be around for at least one more season, it doesn't change much – a replacement is still urgently needed. With Kurt Zouma also to miss the start of the season, it remains perhaps the club's biggest priority. Leonardo Bonucci, who was near-flawless at Euro 2016, will have his pick of clubs to choose from if he does decide to leave Juventus, while Napoli remain adamant Kalidou Koulibaly will not be sold. Outstanding centre-halves are currently at a premium at the moment, made trickier by the absence of European football at Stamford Bridge next season. It's another conundrum the club and Conte must seek to address as quickly as they can.