Chelsea, the reigning Premier League champions, are gearing up for their title defense under former Juventus and Azzurri boss Antonio Conte and despite early stumbles, they have fared well in the transfer market recruiting a number of key resources prior to the upcoming season.
They have spent around £140 mil on three of their prime transfer targets – Alvaro Morata, the Spaniard has joined the Blues for a fee of £70 mil, whereas defender Antonio Rudiger and midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko have been transferred in following an imposing campaign with AS Roma and AS Monaco last term. Also, custodian Willy Caballero joined them on a Bosman transfer after being released by league counterparts Manchester City upon expiration of his contract.
A few, however, has left the club as well. Skipper John Terry was released and joined Championship outfit Aston Villa, custodian Asmir Begovic left for AFC Bournemouth and some of their exciting youth prospects ( Dominic Solanke, Bertrand Traore, Christian Atsu, Nathan Chalobah, Nathan Ake) moved out permanently for first team minutes, whereas a host of prodigies ( including Kurt Zouma) have been loaned out for regular football. Marksman Diego Costa has been asked to leave by the gaffer following a rift and Nemanja Matic, the Serbian midfield general, is in talks to reunite with former boss Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
Conte, therefore, is keen to add more names to his squad and reportedly targeting four more signings that includes Juventus fullback Alex Sandro, Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk, Swansea City hitman Fernando Llorente and Inter Milan winger Antonio Candreva.
There were reports suggesting that Chelsea made an official bid for Candreva who joined the Serie A heavyweights last summer from Lazio and the 30-year old wingman netted 8 and assisted 10 times in 45 appearances across all competitions. Conte, who managed him for the Azzurri’s, is an admirer of his talent and made an attempt on winter transfer deadline to bring him in. But Luciano Spalletti, the Internazionale boss, has denied all rumors and refused to let Candreva leave for the Blues.
“A lot of things happened during this summer in the market and this is another thing. But this is not true. We intend to keep Candreva.”
However, Spalletti has not ruled out the possibility of losing him out to the London giants:
“Even if we sell him we will need to bring in another wide player.”
Chelsea now must decide upon whether they need to renew their interest in Candreva or explore other options.