As the Premier League season draws to a close, the Champions are struggling to claim their place in the Champions League for next season. With Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur all ahead of them then surely Antonio Conte’s time is up at Chelsea.
The Blues sit ten points behind Spurs and are showing no signs of catching them up. Arsenal may catch the London rivals meaning they will slip into 6th place, an unprecedented position to finish considering the size of the club.
The writing has been on the wall since the start of the season for Conte, who will more than likely leave of his own accord, as he lamented the transfer policy of his side while trying to build on winning the title in his first season. It was clear that the Italian wanted former Blue Romelu Lukaku, but he chose the red of Manchester over Chelsea, and they had to “settle” for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata. Whereas Lukaku has gone onto have one of his most prolific seasons ever, Morata has struggled for form since a great start to the season.
The problems continued throughout the summer and into January when they were intent on signing a tall, big, British striker for their final months. However, they signed Oliver Giroud who has a fantastic Premier League record. But he has not been used as much as you expected and even Eden Hazard was used as the central striker ahead of him and Morata.
It was not just incomings that Conte has bemoaned but outgoings. He was left incredibly disappointed when Chelsea agreed to sell key midfield man Nemanja Matic to rivals Manchester United. He has been a lynchpin for The Red Devils this season, and it is clear to see that N’Golo Kante has missed his presence beside him this season.
However, Conte has to take some of the blame this season. He allowed Diego Costa to leave following several bust-ups with the Italian. The Spaniard was their hitman and was instrumental in Chelsea winning the league so easily in 2016/17 season, but he has not replaced him adequately as Costa is a very different type of player to Morata.
It is also clear that he has given up on his club. The former Juventus manager has lost a lot of his passion he once had that made him a beloved character at Stamford Bridge. The spark has disappeared in recent weeks, and he looks a shadow of his former self on the touchline. He believes that a 1-1 draw with West Ham summed up his season as he sat dejected in front of the press.
Conte would not be short of offers as his time looks to be up, but he must get away from Stamford Bridge and away from owner Roman Abramovich. A return to being the Italian manager is possible, but with Chelsea interested in Juventus manager Max Allegri, the Italian club might be willing to do a managerial swap.