Chelsea transfer news: Antonio Conte backed by Roman Abramovich to overhaul squad after three-day meeting

Abramovich has attended Chelsea's training ground for the past three days, but is willing to stick by Conte in an effort to rejuvenate the club's failing squad

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The Independent Football

Roman Abramovich has met with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte for lunch on three consecutive days to hold discussions about dismantling the club’s Premier League title-winning squad and completely rebuilding it.

A good start papered over cracks in the Chelsea side that have been horribly exposed by Liverpool and Arsenal in their last two league matches, and it led to reports that Conte’s job could already be under the scrutiny of club owner Abramovich. That isn’t the case, according to The Times, and despite the Russian oligarch spending the last three days at the club’s Cobham training ground, it’s believed that he has been holding talks on how to rebuild the Blues in title challengers.

The majority of the current squad were part of Jose Mourinho’s 2014/15 title-winning side, but their deterioration – along with the failure to sign adequate replacements – has left Chelsea down in eight position in the Premier League table and already eight points behind leaders Manchester City.

After attending the club’s training ground on Monday and Tuesday, Abramovich was again at Chelsea’s training ground on Wednesday where he discussed the current state of the squad with the club owner.

The report adds that Abramovich is sympathetic to Conte’s demands for new players, and understands his frustrations with the club failing to land his transfer targets in the summer beyond the £30m signing of N’Golo Kante from Leicester City. Striker Michy Batshuayi was identified by sporting director Michael Emenalo, while David Luiz and Marcos Alonso arrived as late additions after the club failed to sign Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Alessio Romagnoli from AC Milan.

The performances of late – particularly the dismal showing against Arsenal – has convinced Conte that the problems in the Chelsea dressing room lie deeper than last season’s falling out between Mourinho and the squad. Conte has raised fears of complacency among his players that has developed a player-power culture at Stamford Bridge, according to the report, and the plays thought to be at risk include Nemanja Matic, Oscar, Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas and vice-captain Branislav Ivanovic.

There were claims that Conte was already under pressure when Chelsea suffered the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool two weeks ago, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, and Abramovich is willing to back the Italian – whose record goes before him with three straight Serie A successes – to overhaul the Chelsea squad and usher in a new era at Stamford Bridge. 

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