Antonio Conte kicked off his Chelsea revolution today
Guus Hiddink guided the Blues away from the relegation zone and they eventually finished 10th.
But what else does Conte need to sort out this summer?
Chelsea‘s disastrous season means there is a need for wholesale changes.
A new striker is in, a new midfielder is on the way, but the defence is going to need a lot of work.
Conte wanted Leonardo Bonucci and has looked at Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
And with John Terry now 35 a long-term replacement is needed.
Conte remains in the market for another striker as well but Alvaro Morata will cost over £50million.
Patience – something rarely seen under Roman Abramovich’s ownership – is required now.
Jose Mourinho wanted to build a dynasty, but the “palpable discord” between manager and players, to use technical director Michael Emenalo’s words, was a fracture in relations which could not be repaired.
Conte must be given time to build his team.
SELL THE RIGHT PLAYERS
Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne, David Luiz, Ryan Bertrand and Petr Cech are some of the players sold who would improve last season’s starting XI and cases can be made for others.
Recent signings – Radamel Falcao, for example – did little to redress the balance.
The challenge is Chelsea may have to overhaul the team twice in the next two summers as, without Champions League football, it may be difficult to attract the desired players.
So far, they seem to have managed to persuade Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Diego Costa and co to stay.
THE JOHN TERRY CONUNDRUM
Terry signed another one-year contract extension in May – his third – after six months of uncertainty.
Terry, at 35, cannot continue forever and Conte must fill the void in defence and leadership.
There is also the question of power and respect.
Conte will have to acknowledge Terry’s considerable influence with supporters and role in the club’s history, while Terry must accept that his best days are behind him.
John Terry appeared to say his goodbyes at the end of last season
GARDEN OF EDEN
Eden Hazard was Chelsea’s leading performer in the 2014-15 title-winning season, but his performance levels dropped off a cliff last term.
Injuries played their part, as did a fall-out with Mourinho, but even following the Portuguese’s departure he struggled.
A long-standing hip problem provided part of the explanation, but, even prior to that flaring up, the Belgium playmaker did not show signs of improving on his successful campaign.
He is under contract until 2020 and will not be sold – his transfer value must be half what it was last summer – so Conte must find a way of rejuvenating Hazard.
There were signs of a return to form with Belgium at Euro 2016.
TRY THE KIDS
Terry was the most recent, homegrown graduate to make a sustained first-team impact from the academy, 18 years ago.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been in the first-team squad, but has had limited opportunities.
Dominic Solanke, Lewis Baker and Izzy Brown are among those out who should be given the chance to realise their potential.
Chelsea’s developmental model could be reconfigured to place less emphasis on loans and enhance first-team chances.