All is not well at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s title defence got off to the worst possible start at the weekend when they lost 3-2 at home to Burnley and had experienced duo Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas sent off.
Despite the signings of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger, Willy Caballero and Alvaro Morata, many fans reacted to the loss with calls for more new recruits.
Chelsea have been heavily linked with England internationals Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Drinkwater but club bosses have a problem with Antonio Conte’s shortlist.
According to the Times, Chelsea believe that their Italian gaffer is targeting experienced players with little resale value and are therefore hesitant to oblige to his requests.
Oxlade-Chamberlain turns 24 today so still has plenty of years left in the tank while Drinkwater is 27, hardly over the hill.
We must assume then that the club’s chagrin relates to Conte’s other unknown targets.
Clearly, the Italian gaffer believes the club needs a shakeup in terms of balance as he allowed promising youngsters Nathan Ake, Bertrand Traore, Dominic Solanke and Nathaniel Chalobah to leave on permanent deals rather than the customary loan moves.
In fairness to Conte, aside from back-up keeper Caballero, all of his summer signings are in their early 20s — something that will continue if the club are able to persuade Arsenal to part with Oxlade-Chamberlain.
You would think that last season’s triumphant title win would have earned Conte enough trust to have full control over his transfer dealings.
The club’s concern over resale value and ageing players seems to jar with their willingness to let young leave.
The champions clearly have some issues to resolve before in the next two weeks.
Their rivals will be smelling blood…