AFTER Chelsea raced away with the title, Antonio Conte appeared to have a runner to at least the later legs of this season’s Champions League.
But Blues boss Conte was never sure of this and now we know that his concerns about the overall strength of his squad were well based.
REUTERS Antonio Conte has been failed by Chelsea’s loan system from previous years
The irony is massive. Name three of the outstanding half-dozen players in the league and surely Mo Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku would be among them.
Each of them was tried and inaccurately tested as promising professionals by Chelsea.
Sold for a combined total of £58million, currently the lot would be worth around £400m at today’s ludicrous prices.
It seems to me Chelsea’s system of signing the best talent and lending it out to all points of the compass is bound by its very voraciousness to have serious weaknesses.
Getty Images – Getty Kevin De Bruyne is one of many players Chelsea loaned out and sold
Getty Images – Getty Romelu Lukaku was on loan at West Brom and Everton before being sold
To fail to recognise one future great is unfortunate, to do so three times is shocking and has weakened Roman Abramovich’s club by default.
With that trio in Conte’s side, he or any half-decent manager would be embracing glory rather than fifth place in the league.
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Chelsea have achieved a lot by regularly shaking the dice to the extent of 11 managers in the oligarch’s 13 years at Chelsea. Vladimir Putin hasn’t got rid of Russians in London at such a rate!