Chelsea’s world-class possible starting XI under Antonio Conte

first_img 12 12 12 12 12 4. Kurt Zouma (centre back) – The Frenchman has been a revelation at Stamford Bridge over the past two seasons, making his recent injury all the more frustrating to his progression. At 21, though, he is expected to bounce back quickly from his setback and with John Terry set to leave his beloved club in the summer, Zouma will quickly become even more integral to the senior squad. 3. John Stones (centre back) – This is the defender all at Chelsea want in the heart of their defence. The Blues failed in their pursuit last summer, but their interest is likely to return at the end of this season. Everton have stood firm on blocking his exit, insisting that he is crucial at Goodison Park. If offer(s) in excess of £45m fall their way, though, they could prove difficult to refuse. 12 12 Antonio Conte could be on his way to Stamford Bridge in the summer, so, how might Chelsea line up under the Italian? Click the arrow above to take a look at our prediction 6. Cesc Fabregas (right midfield) – Finally, after just over a year of poor form, the former Arsenal and Barcelona man has reminded supporters of his commanding ability in the centre of the park. Many may have questioned whether he can still perform to the standard expected at the highest level, but he may have silenced his critics – for now. Much to the annoyance of Oscar. 12 12 12 5. Cesar Azpilicueta (left back) – Last summer Filipe Luis was forced out after only one season with the club and a similar narrative could follow with Abdul Baba Rahman. Azpilicueta is among the most consistent performers in the Chelsea squad, making it all the more bizarre as to why the Blues opted to spend £21.7m on Rahman, who has shown few signs that he has the ability to push the Spaniard out of the line up. 9. Willian (right wing) – Willian has comfortably been Chelsea’s player of the season. In what has been a largely miserable campaign, the Brazilian has been a rare bright spark, thriving while those around him have been hiding. When Pedro was confirmed in the summer, it was expected that he would move ahead of Willian in the pecking order, but this has been far from the case. 7. Paul Pogba (centre midfield) – There are few teams not eyeing the Italy midfielder. Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona have all been linked with a move, but Chelsea could jump ahead of their rivals if Conte agrees to join the club. The difficulty, though, could be persuading the 22-year-old to give up Champions League football, with the Blues poised to miss out on the elite competition. 1. Thibaut Courtois (goalkeeper) – Courtois is yet to find top form since returning from injury, though he firmly remains the long-term first choice stopper at the club. Asmir Begovic, who deputised admirably in the absence of the Belgian at the beginning of the season, is set to leave in the summer, according to the Telegraph, further confirming the club’s desire to cement Courtois as their no.1. 12 Antonio Conte has quickly emerged as the odds-on favourite to be named the next permanent Chelsea manager.The Daily Express report that the Italy manager has informed Roman Abramovich that, should he agree to move to Stamford Bridge in the summer, he wishes to bring Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini with him.So, if such speculation is to be believed, the Blues’ next permanent manager may have been decided.With this in mind, how might the defending Premier League champions line up next season, if Conte does leave national football to return to club level?Who might the 46-year-old be interested in signing? Could he tinker with their current 4-2-3-1 formation?To see a possible Chelsea line up under Conte, click the yellow arrow above, right. 10. Edinson Cavani (centre forward) – According to reports from Italy, Chelsea opened talks with the Uruguayan following their 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last week. It’s claimed that the Blues have prepared a lucrative contract and are currently persuading the forward to swap the Parc des Princes for Stamford Bridge. Whether this would be a deal wanted by the new manager or Abramovich, only time will tell. 2. Branislav Ivanovic (right back) – Chelsea supporters have been left frustrated by the Serb’s performances this season, with his form at the beginning of the season a major contribution to their side’s shocking start. He has, however, improved considerably under Guus Hiddink and having recently penned a one-year contract extension, could remain a key player over the next 12 months. 12 8. Radja Nainggolan (left midfield) – Nemanja Matic has been worryingly disappointing this season, and while John Obi Mikel has stepped in superbly under Hiddink, the new manager may look to bring in reinforcements in central midfield. And, according to the Telegraph, Nainggolan is at the top of Conte’s transfer wish list, of which Chelsea’s board has allegedly already been informed. 11. Eden Hazard (left wing) – Hazard has been the most frustrating of all this season, looking a shadow of the player that comfortably clinched the PFA Player of the Year title last term. Nonetheless, in recent weeks his performances have gradually improved, suggesting that his confidence is on the mend. Knowing his ability, Abramovich will not want to see such a forward turn his back on the club.last_img read more