If you’re not moving forward, you’re going backwards. Chelsea’s FA Community Shield defeat to Arsenal may not mean that much in the grand scheme of things but it will be of concern to head coach, Antonio Conte.
A second cup final loss in a row will have done little to assuage the Italian’s demand for new additions to a squad that looks like it could be suffering from second season syndrome.
The former Juventus manager, already working off a small squad last season, has lost senior players such as John Terry and Nemanja Matic, while Diego Costa is also on his way.
The signings of Antonio Rudiger, Tiémoué Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata should prove to be excellent buys in the medium and long term but there are short term worries. Can Morata instantly replace Costa’s goals? Will Babayoko adequately fill Matic’s boots straight away?
And even then, where are they improving in other areas of the squad? Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have all strengthened considerably.
Conte will understandably feel like merely standing still is falling behind in one of the most competitive leagues in world football.
There was a frosty post-match greeting caught live on the cameras between Conte and Chelsea’s top brass of Michael Emenalo and Bruce Buck. The Italian is reportedly none too happy with the sale of Matic to direct rivals, Man United, while a net spend of around £19m is paltry compared to others in the market.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the ex-Italian international coach is a fierce competitor. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him walk if he feels he is not being supported sufficiently enough by the Blues’ board.
There are three weeks left of the summer transfer window to get reinforcements in at Stamford Bridge – watch this space.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing