It is fair to say that it has been a frustrating transfer window for Chelsea, although they have landed Antonio Rudige and Tiemoue Bakayoko they have been foiled in their quest to sign a marquee signing. Many felt that they were in poll position to land Romelu Lukaku from Everton but as we all know by now he ended up linking up with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
That particular scenario would not have left Blues boss Antonio Conte best pleased and his frustrations have only grown further as he still looks to sign a new forward before the start of this upcoming season. In some quarters there were reports that due to a failure to land his desired transfer targets the former Italy and Juventus boss was considering walking away from the club.
That would have been something of a hammer blow to Chelsea as they prepare to defend their Premier League title but thankfully those fears have been easily unfounded with the confirmation last night that the Italian has signed a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
When Conte joined the club just over 12 months ago he had signed a three year deal and although this new contract does not extend the length of his tenure in West London it does however handsomely reward him for his fantastic efforts last season.
Those efforts landed him a league title in his debut season and he was just one game away from landing the double only to be foiled by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the F.A. Cup Final back in May. That meant a successful campaign ended on a sour note but it should not deflect from the job that the 47 year old has performed with Chelsea.
Whenever there are question marks over a managers future at a club then it can always lead to a period of uncertainty which in itself can be an unattractive proposition to any player being linked with a move. But now that Conte has committed his future to Chelsea it should mean that the clear focus can be on landing a replacement for Diego Costa.
On signing the contract, Conte said:
“I am very happy to have signed a new contract. We worked extremely hard in our first year to achieve something amazing, which I am very proud of. Now we must work even harder to stay at the top.”
The task now is not only to sign a new striker but to also be the first team to defend the Premier League title since 2009. Last season Chelsea were playing once a week after a hiatus from Europe but now the task will prove to be a lot more difficult what with Champions League exploits on the horizon.
It comes as no coincidence that no club has managed this feat in eight years as the riguors of competing on two fronts means that trying to defend your top flight crown has become nigh on impossible. Not only that but you then as champions become the team that everyone wants to beat.
Not only that but your title rivals will then go out and spend big in a bid to get to the top of the tree and if you do not match that spending then there is every risk that you will get left behind, that for Chelsea must be the most perceived danger as their hunt for a forward continues.
But although there has been many false starts in that department at least there will now be an air of confidence due to the fact that their manager has committed his future to the club, they now just need a world class finisher to do the same.