Chelsea had a superb season, a thirteen game winning streak. Breaking the ninety-point barrier and winning an incredible thirty games shows what an excellent team Conte has assembled at Stamford Bridge.
Despite this, discussions have already begun about players the Italian might look to bring in, and with no side having retained the Premier League since the 2008-09 season, you can understand why Conte feels it is important not to stand still.
In addition to facing renewed challenges from domestic clubs, Conte will also have to deal with European football this season meaning they will need to add to their squad depth.
Two players who they have been strongly linked to for a while are Romelu Lukaku and Virgil Van Dijk.
Return to Stamford Bridge for Belgian Lukaku has been mooted for a couple of seasons now with the striker even responding to speculation over the move in January according to Metro. Another media house The Independent suggested in January that Conte was looking at Van Dijk.
These rumours have not gone away, and just four days ago The Telegraph reported that as part of Conte signing a new deal at Chelsea, he would be promised the funds to buy both Lukaku and Van Dijk. With that in mind, we take a look at how these two would fit in and what they would bring to Chelsea next season if they were to sign.
If Conte were to bring in Lukaku, it would give this season’s golden boot runner-up the chance to make amends for his first spell at the club where he struggled to fit in.
Lukaku left the Bridge first on loan to West Brom before moving to Everton, first on loan then permanently. In that time, he has proven himself to be one the best strikers in the league scoring 84 goals in 176 games. Earlier this season he became just the fourth player to reach 80 goals in the Premier League before turning 24.
Interestingly both departing captain John Terry and current star striker Diego Costa have noted what a good signing Lukaku would be. He would bring frightening pace, superb physicality and lethal finishing.
Lukaku averaged just three shots per game this season yet managed to average nearly a goal every other game.
This suggests that when he gets chances, he can put them away. He can also hold the ball up brilliantly which would help to bring wingers Hazard, Pedro and Willian into the game. If, as The Independent suggests, Costa is to move back to Atletico then Lukaku would likely be an excellent replacement.
Despite having an excellent defensive record, Conte never seemed entirely convinced by his Chelsea defence, he was apparently reluctant to sign David Luiz, and Gary Cahill remains a ‘decent’ rather than a spectacular option.
At 25-years-old he remains a relatively young player, but he has a good deal of experience having spent two seasons at Southampton. Van Dijk would be an obvious choice for Conte to shore up his defence and add depth to the squad.
In addition to Premier League experience, the Dutchman has also played in the Champions League during his time at Celtic which is a definite plus.
In Conte’s preferred system of three at the back, Van Dijk’s could replace Luiz in the centre owing to his prodigious skills in the air or Cahill on the left due to his ability to the read the game well.
Van Dijk is also robust and fairly pacey as well as being good with his feet, in short, he is everything a modern centre-back should be. Chelsea needs a powerful and strong presence after John Terry’s departure, and Van Dijk can be just that.