Former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer believes things could take a turn for the worse at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues lost to Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday (6 August), making it two losses in two games against the Gunners at Wembley following their 2-1 loss in the FA Cup final back in May.
While Chelsea have made four signings in the form of Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Willy Caballero and Antonio Rudiger, their squad is still thin and Conte has not been happy with their summer transfer business, having recently demanded more signings.
There is still the lingering issue of the future of Diego Costa who was widely expected to leave the club this summer. There have been no recent updates with former club Atletico Madrid being one of many interested parties.
Schwarzer fears the implosion Chelsea suffered in their title-defending season under Jose Mourinho in the 2015/16 season could occur yet again, attributing it to the rumours of Costa leaving for China earlier in the year.
"All the signs are potentially there," Schwarzer told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, as quoted on talkSPORT. "It all probably started in February when there were all those rumours about Costa wanting to leave and he could go to China."
"He was left out of the next squad and all of a sudden he reappeared as if nothing had happened, but I think under the surface there were always rumbles. Then come the summer, Costa comes out with the texts Conte sent him basically saying he can leave, and I think that was always going to cause problems.
"The longer this all goes on, there's always going to be that destruction for Chelsea. Now, considering all the problems they've had with bringing players in, with players leaving and the Costa thing still hanging over the club – he would be an enormous loss and one that would cause a lot of problems for them when the season starts.
"They've had a lot of distractions and I think they could have moved on from all of this if they signed an adequate replacement."
Chelsea kick off their title defence on Saturday (12 August) as they host Burnley in the opening game of the season.