Usually a new manager arrives at a club on a wave of positivity, with a clean slate to operate from and a raft of options available to improve the playing squad. Antonio Conte has a different proposition in front of him at Chelsea.
The incoming Blues boss will have a goalkeeping emergency to manage before he does anything else at Stamford Bridge, with latest transfer reports suggesting that BOTH of the club’s senior stoppers are disgruntled.
According to the Telegraph, first-choice glove man Thibaut Courtois is keen to leave the west London club for Real Madrid this summer, as European football looks almost certain to elude Chelsea following a dismal campaign.
The Belgian made his feelings over a potential Bernabeu switch clear during the recent international break, the paper claims, although it appears Chelsea will be asking for an eye-watering £73m before even considering letting the former Atletico Madrid loanee leave.
In addition to that headache, current Italy boss Conte must also try and placate deputy keeper Asmir Begovic, who is looking for assurances of more first-team football next season.
The former Stoke man filled in for an injured Courtois admirably at the start of the season, when Chelsea’s form was at its lowest ebb. He has since found starts hard to come by following Guus Hiddink’s arrival to replace Jose Mourinho.
If Conte manages to convince Courtois to stay, or even if he replaces the Belgian with his own purchase, it is almost certain that the Bosnian will quit the club in order to find a number-one gig elsewhere.
After losing to Swansea in Wales last time out, the Blues find themselves eight points adrift of sixth place with six games to go.
They face Manchester City at home next, priced up by Ladbrokes at 6/4 to claim victory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.