Chelsea’s season didn’t start in the manner in which the supporters had expected it, but it did end in a morale-boosting manner with that FA Cup win against Manchester United.
The narrow victory over Jose Mourinho’s side has dispersed some dark clouds over Stamford Bridge as Premier League clubs head for a summer break.
Ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, questions still remain about Antonio Conte’s future at the club, including star players such as Eden Hazard.
The Belgium international, whose contract at the Bridge runs out in 2020, made it clear that he is waiting to commit his future to the club because he wants to see whether they sign any “good players”.
Hazard is clearly testing the ambitions of the London club following their miserable Premier League title defence.
Here are five players Chelsea could sign this summer in order to persuade their star man to stay:
#1 Robert Lewandowski
It’s understandable why Conte decided to sell Diego Costa last summer but his departure proved to be costly for the club. His replacement, Alvaro Morata, struggled to consistently perform which in the end played a part in Chelsea finishing outside of the top-four. There is no doubt that Chelsea will be looking for a top quality striker this summer and Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski fits the bill perfectly. He scored 41 goals in all competitions this season, including five strikes in the Champions League. Lewandowski’s all-round play upfront, including his hold up play, will suit Chelsea’s style of play under Conte.
#2 Radja Nainggolan
Chelsea need a powerful, box-to-box midfielder, playing alongside the consistent N’Golo Kante next season. Tiemoue Bakayoko struggled to perform this term, Cesc Fabregas is ageing, whilst English duo Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater are not the big name players Chelsea are looking for. Nainggolan, however, is proven, he helped Roma to a Champions League semi-final, scoring two goals and providing two assists during the tournament. An addition such as Nainggolan would certainly turn Hazard’s head in the right direction.
#3 Toby Alderweireld
Tottenham supporters would find it very difficult to forgive their club if they were to sell their best centre-back to their London rivals. However, there is a big possibility that Toby Alderweireld will be on the move this summer, and to one of the clubs in the top six. The 29-year-old cannot agree on a new deal with Spurs, which has left him open to leave. Chelsea need freshening up at the back and Alderweireld ticks all the boxes. He can play out from the back, play in a back three and has experience in performing in the big games.
#4 Anthony Martial
There are talks that Manchester United are interested in bringing Willian to Old Trafford this summer, with the Brazilian keen to leave if Conte remains at the club. Meanwhile, in Manchester, Martial has fallen out of favour with Jose Mourinho, with the Frenchman coming off the bench for the FA Cup final at the weekend. With Hazard’s versatility, Pedro’s poor form during this campaign, and Willian’s possible departure, Martial could fit in at Chelsea. The 22-year-old is still highly-rated amongst United fans and he would get into Chelsea’s starting XI today.
#5 Joshua Kimmich
One position Chelsea must improve in next season is the right-back or right wing-back area. Victor Moses didn’t put in the performances that won him praise during Chelsea’s title-winning campaign, whilst Davide Zappacosta hasn’t been able to nail down a regular place. The signing of Joshua Kimmich, who is regarded as one of Germany’s best prospects, would signal that Chelsea mean business. Kimmich has the capabilities of playing all across the back four and in midfield. He has great balance, he is very comfortable on the ball and he would be a very big upgrade on what Conte currently has at his disposal.