After it was confirmed that Antonio Conte had agreed a three-year deal to become Chelsea coach, the Italian is expected to strengthen his new squad this summer.
As has been the case with both Juventus and Italy, the Italian tactician has shown a level of loyalty and stubbornness when it comes to certain individuals that he trusts and can rely on to give their all for him.
In turn, it would come as no surprise to see the 46-year-old target various players that he has either previously coached, or has come up against during his tenure in Turin.
Speculation has naturally linked him with the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Paul Pogba, both of whom who were pivotal in the Bianconeri’s success under Conte.
Bonucci has already rejected the possibility of linking up with his former coach though, as reported by The Daily Mail, while Chelsea will face stiff competition for Pogba after having had a bid rejected last summer, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
As a result, reunions with former Juve stars appears to be an unlikely possibility, but two men that could have a real impact at Stamford Bridge are Roma pair Radja Nainggolan and Miralem Pjanic.
Both would fit the mould that Conte will likely be looking to set in west London, with Nainggolan offering a steely defensive coverage while Pjanic will act as the creative hub in midfield capable of adding some flair to the team.
Naturally, much will depend on how Conte sees the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian fitting into his plans, and if that trio stays this summer, it is unlikely that an attacking midfielder will be high on his list.
In contrast, two areas that do need strengthening are central defence and forwards, with Roma star Kostas Manolas linked in a double swoop involving Nainggolan worth £52m, as reported by The Express, and he could well be an ideal replacement for John Terry who will see his contract expire this summer.
Juan Cuadrado could yet return to the club after his loan spell with Juve, while Antonio Candreva has already revealed his desire to play in England, according to Gazzetta.
It would be no surprise if some of these players arrive at Stamford Bridge after Euro 2016, as Conte will have the financial backing to test the resolve of the top Serie A clubs who are not in the best of positions off the field.
Conte’s tactical flexibility and relentless work ethic will demand a great deal from his players, and given the level of competition in England next season coupled with the pressure that he will be under to deliver immediate success, familiar faces could be just what he needs.
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