The Telegraph report that Chelsea are open to offers for out-of-favour midfielder Oscar, with interest from Inter Milan and China. After starting the season in the first team, the Brazilian has disappeared to the fringes of the squad and it is difficult to see him working his way back into Antonio Conte’s plans. He doesn’t possess the dynamism to be used in the wide positions, while he isn’t robust enough to be used in a two-man central midfield. The change to a 3-4-3 has benefited many in the squad, but it has sidelined Oscar and a move away would now suit all parties.
Antonio Conte has the full backing of Roman Abramovich when it comes to recruitment and he will be allowed to move on the players that are no longer required. This includes Oscar, Cesc Fabregas, John Obi Mikel and Branislav Ivanovic, while John Terry could also leave when his contract expires in the summer. This will fund Chelsea’s transfer business as the Italian continues to shape a squad that can challenge for major honours. Oscar has failed to fulfil his potential since moving to Chelsea and it would be a good decision to sell him sooner rather than later.
The Mirror are carrying a story linking John Terry with a move to China, with Shanghai SIPG leading the race. This would mean that Terry is reunited with former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. The Chinese club are hoping to seal a deal in January as the defender has found himself surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge. Conte has moved to a system with three at the back, which doesn’t suit the club captain at all. Although he is still contributing when he can, Terry will know that the club are moving on without him and he may be tempted to move in January.
A move to China will provide significant financial rewards and offer the opportunity for the former England captain to test himself in a developing league. The Chinese league is one that is getting better and better, which could appeal to Terry as he enters the twilight of his career. That said, he rejected a move to Shanghai last summer and may be more interested in joining another Premier League club. He may not want to uproot his family to China, despite the money on offer. It is time for Terry to leave Chelsea, but it is impossible to predict where his next move will be.
Conte has been praised by Thibaut Courtois for his tactical brain, as the goalkeeper said that the Italian is a better coach than previous Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho. He also suggested that Conte is a better tactical coach than Diego Simeone, which is high praise indeed considering the Argentine’s achievements with Atletico Madrid. The change to a 3-4-3 formation has emphasised the quality that Conte possesses, but the Italian must now maintain this form over an entire season.
“Conte is the one that works most tactically. Then there is Simeone, then Mourinho and finally Wilmots,”
The Belgian goalkeeper has yet to reach his potential with Chelsea, but has started to find his form since Conte took over. It was a huge confidence booster for him when the club elected to sell Cech 18-months ago and it is now up to Courtois to show that was the correct decision. He will be happy with the current formation as it has improved the defensive shape considerably and he is now not required to do as much work in goal. Chelsea haven’t conceded a goal since the change in formation and Courtois is quickly emerging as one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the league.
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