Chelsea step up hunt for new manager – talks set for Thursday

Chelsea are understood to be meeting their potential new manager, Antonio Conte, on Thursday for the second time as they don’t want to miss out on another target.

The Guardian reports the Italian national team coach and Chelsea have a reached a key phase in a deal that could see him paid a staggering £6.3 million a year before tax.

The Italian boss has a proven track record – winning Serie A three times on the bounce with Juventus before taking up the role of the national team head coach in 2014.

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Conte could be the ideal candidate for Roman Abramovic as his Italy side qualified for this summer’s European Champions without losing a game.

Chelsea are expected to have a clear out of their underperforming stars this summer and Conte could potentially persuade some of his former players to make the move to the capital and join him in what could be his new challenge.

Would the appointment of Antonio Conte be a good move for Chelsea?

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Jose Mourinho “not running away” as he lets out emotion after Southampton loss

Jose Mourinho watched his Chelsea side throw an early 1-0 lead away as they eventually lost 3-1 at home to Southampton on Saturday evening, leaving the reigning champions on eight points after eight games.

It means Chelsea have now endured their worst start to a Premier League season in 37 years. They were relegated that season, and while nobody is suggesting they will suffer the same fate this term, Mourinho is under the biggest pressure of his managerial career to turn things around.

He appeared to use his post-match interview with Sky Sports to send a message to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, asking to be given time despite the ongoing crisis at the club.

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“If the club wants to sack me they have to sack me because I am not running away,” Mourinho said after the game as part of an incredible seven-minute response to one question.

“To be champions now is very difficult because the distance is so much but I am convinced we will finish in the top four.

“It is a crucial moment in the history of this club. If they sack me they sack the best manager this club has ever had. The message is that the results are the fault of the manager. This is a moment for everybody to assume their responsibilities and stick together.”

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Mourinho now has two weeks to prepare for the Blues’ next league game against Aston Villa, so long as he is still in the job. The Portuguese tactician is as short as 5/1 with some bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager to leave.

Chelsea sit in 16th place in the Premier League after eight games. No club has ever finished higher than fifth after picking up just eight points through the same number of games.

What does being substituted mean for John Terry?

Much has been made of the Premier League champions below-par start to the season and their 3-0 drubbing by Manchester City at the weekend has only intensified problems.

The substitution of Chelsea captain John Terry at half-time in the game at the Etihad has been talked about by pundits and fans alike. But has too much been made of the situation? Lewis Addley explores…

Sky Sports pundit, Niall Quinn, went as far to say that the substitution could mark the beginning of the end for Terry and that the former England captain faces a tough task to regain his place in the side.

“I think it could be the start of the end for John Terry,” Quinn told Sky Sports.

“I think he’s got a hell of a battle on now to get back in the team. To be taken off at half-time in a big game, he would be gutted.”

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It was the first time the Blues captain has been subbed by Mourinho in the Premier League, the only other occasion he didn’t complete the full 90 minutes was due to a sending off.

Premier League starts under Mourinho 177
Played full 90 minutes 175
Times substituted 1

Graeme Souness was quick to deflect Quinn’s comments regarding Terry, claiming it is a ploy from Mourinho to show club owner, Roman Abramovich, that he needs to sign more players.

“I don’t think it was anything to do with Terry’s performance,” Souness said to Sky Sports.

The club have been heavily linked with a move for Everton’s John Stones, who is seen by many as a long-term replacement for Terry, and Souness believes Mourinho was signalling that interest to Abramovich.

“John Terry is still the best centre-back out there. I think he’s trying to force the owner’s hand to go and buy John Stones.

“I think it’s a manager making a statement to the owner, saying ‘I need more players’.”

Statiscally, Chelsea are far better off when their captain plays, winning 11.7% more of their games.

With   Without
309 Games played 71
203 Wins 39
234 Goals against 69
0.8 Average goals against 1
65.7% Win % 54%

The Blues have also conceded 0.2 goals less per game on average when Terry is in the side.

Speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football, Gary Neville believes that the manager’s decision was viable and that at 34 these changes will happen for Terry.

“There will be certain games where, as a 34-year-old centre-back, other players will need to start to be phased in.

“My genuine belief is that it’s not the end of the world for John Terry. It was a big shock to him yesterday, and it’s almost like a public embarrassment – we’ve been there.

“But I don’t buy into the fact that his career’s over.”

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Former Liverpool captain, Jamie Carragher, echoed Neville’s opinion and believes Terry will be an integral part of the champions’ defence of their title.

“I think Chelsea will get back into the title race, and John Terry will be in there. I think it’ll be the end for him in terms of playing every minute of every game.

“This isn’t just a question of John Terry’s pace and that he can’t run – he’s never been able to run. He’s still been one of the best centre-backs we’ve had in the league.”

The Chelsea boss claimed his decision to sub his skipper was tactical and nothing more and although Terry will begin to be used a little more sparingly the comments from experts in the game speak volumes.

Chelsea’s next fixture is a tough away game against West Bromwich Albion, where they were crushed 3-0 at the back-end of last season. The spotlight will no doubt be on whether or not the Blues skipper will be selected.

Chelsea suffer blow as star is open to joining Arsenal or United

Chelsea have suffered a huge blow as Petr Cech‘s agent has revealed his client is open to a move to Arsenal or Manchester United.

Both Arsenal and United are expected to dip into the transfer market for new goalkeepers. Arsene Wenger could seek an upgrade for David Ospina and David de Gea’s Real Madrid saga is still ongoing.

Cech would be a great addition for either club, having won almost every trophy available during his eleven year chelsea career.

Jose Mourinho is hoping to keep hold of his back-up ‘keeper but it appears the decision will be down to owner Roman Abramovich.

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Cech still has one season to run on his current contract and if he stays with Chelsea he will more than likely move on for free. If the Premier League champions cash in on the 32-year-old shot stopper it is estimated his services would fetch around £10 million.

Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Besiktas are all reportedly interested in the Czech Republic number one and Mourinho will hope his star will opt for a move away from one of the clubs rivals.

Will Cech leave Chelsea? Will he be allowed to move to one of their rivals?