Summer Recruitment 2016: A role reversal for Chelsea and Manchester United?

When Manchester United announced the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan last week, the transfer activity of the Red Devils was hailed by many. Compared to the dismal activity of the past three years, the legendary club have gone with purpose and precision that was once the hallmark of their Stamford bridge rivals. This season though, the Blues seemed to have taken the place of the Old Trafford side in the slack transfer business.

Summer Recruitment 2016: A role reversal for Chelsea and Manchester United?

With only Michy Batshuayi arriving from Olympique Marseille, one would suspect that the Blues maybe heading towards another underwhelming campaign following their failure to address the shortcomings in the key areas that had let them down last season.

Conte facing another Italian job?

When Conte arrived with his contingent in France last month, many had written off their chances to progress beyond their group stages let alone claiming the trophy. Three weeks later, he leaves his reputation enhanced and his stock sky-high. If observed closely, one can see some similarities with his national team and the West London outfit. Battered by their rivals last term, this team does have its fair share of champions but it also has players who had become a burden on the team towards the end of last season.

While Conte maybe primarily charged with rediscovering the form that made Eden Hazard the Player of the Year in 2014-15 season, there are some areas where quite simply, the club hierarchy have no option but to dip into the transfer market to find adequate replacements. However, there are big differences too, one that could potentially restrict his Chelsea career to a solitary year.

The defence is in need of a major overhaul

The likes of Gary Cahill and John Terry were left badly exposed last season. The introduction of Kurt Zouma had brought some respite but his injury had left the things back at square one. While John Terry had his contract extended after all the drama made by the Chelsea hierarchy, it’s difficult to envisage him starting week in and week out for Chelsea.

At left-back, Branislav Ivanovic has been throughout the season and to expect him to suddenly rediscover his form is nothing short of Utopian dream. The striking team too, needs a makeover. The signing of Batshuayi is a positive news for Chelsea fans but more signings must be made especially considering the reports that have cropped up time and again of Diego Costa being unsettled and looking to be reunited with his former club Atletico Madrid.

Numerous rumours, unsettled stars and a lone signing

That Diego Costa isn’t liked by many in the England is a known fact. And it seemed to bother him too throughout the last season. Red Cards and retrospective punishments may have made him feel hard done by but his behavior didn’t deserve pardon. However, if one looks at the bigger picture, one can see it’s way he has been brought up at Athletic, a team that plays with knives between their teeths, Costa fitted perfectly into its philosophy. His aggression was the perfect antidote to the egoistic Madridistas that belittled them. His fighting spirit a reflection of the team and its members’ desire to win at all costs.Those assets however proved to be his biggest liabilities in England.

The desire to be reunited with the Rojiblancos is one that is mutual though not exclusive. Having been linked with Gonzalo Higuain, Christian Benteke among others, it’s not only Costa that they are hanging on to. Apart from him, Nemanja Matic is the other person looking likely to depart. His refusal to celebrate one of his goals last season was taken as a gesture was taken as a sign of his unhappiness with his current club. One, that he hasn’t denied thoroughly. The reports of him linking to Jose Mourinho are gaining credibility with each passing day. Loic Remy too looks to move on to a club where he is more valued than the one he is currently with.

The likes of Thibaut Courtois leaving are not very likely although the reports suggest otherwise

It’s this very fact, of having the possibility of many high profile stars departing leaving, the lack of transfer activity by the Stamford Bridge outfit is surprising. Having been linked to Gonzalo Higuain, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, it’s only Batshuayi that has arrived. Granted, that it’s only four days since the transfer window has officially opened but looking at their rivals, the supporters are bound to feel jittery looking at their club’s transfer activity.

Last season, Chelsea had pulled off a major coup in signing Pedro from Barcelona. His agent had confirmed their activity to a “Lightning” and a move that had pulled off rug from beneath Red Devils’ feet and had made them a laughing stock. Looks like the tables are turning this time around.

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