CONTE FACES A RUDI TOUGH SUMMER
£35m defender signs but Ancelotti says Blues need to ‘buy a lot’
CARLO ANCELOTTI has warned Antonio Conte he still faces a big rebuilding job to turn his Premier League kings into Champions League contenders.
Chelsea finally kicked off their summer spending yesterday with the £35million capture of defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma. The Germany international has signed a five-year deal.
Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is expected to follow for a similar fee, but the title holders are still smarting from being beaten to Romelu Lukaku by Manchester United.
With Diego Costa set to follow John Terry, Nathan Ake and several other fringe players out of the Stamford Bridge exit door, Ancelotti fears the club he led to the Double seven years ago lack the strength in depth to live with Europe’s big guns.
The Bayern Munich boss said: “Conte will be forced to change something, as he won the Premier League using practically the same players all the time.
“In the Champions League, he’ll need to buy a lot and buy well.”
Conte’s squad return to pre-season training today with both Manchester clubs seen as stronger candidates to lift next season’s title than Chelsea.
An inquest has already been held into the loss of Lukaku, while the club are already hunting alternatives, with Torino’s Andrea Belotti (right) and Dortmund’s PierreEmerick Aubameyang (top right) high on the shortlist.
A week of frenzied activity is expected in west London as Conte wants his men in ahead of next week’s pre-season trip to the Far East. But the Blues are no closer to landing Juventus left-back Alex Sandro, with the Italians now demanding around £70m for the Brazilian. Talks will be stepped up for Porto right-back Danilo, while Chelsea are also seeking more creativity in central midfield. Greater clarity is expected on Conte’s proposed new four-year deal – as well as new contracts for his staff – while talks continue over new deals for keeper Thibaut Courtois and star winger Eden Hazard. Rudiger, 24, has spoken of his delight at finally sealing his move. The centre-back said: “It’s a great feeling, because not every player has the opportunity to join a huge club like this.
“I am looking forward to meeting up with my new team-mates and I’m very proud to officially become a Chelsea player.”
The club’s technical director Michael Emenalo said: “Antonio is still young but is experienced at club and international level, and possesses all the requisite attributes to thrive in the Premier League. He is a player of proven quality.”
Rudiger played for Borussia Dortmund at youth level before moving to Stuttgart six years ago.
He made his Bundesliga debut in January 2012, and played 66 times in Germany’s top flight, before switching to Roma in 2015.
He made 30 Serie A appearances in 2015-16 to help Roma into third. He also played six Champions League games in 2015-16 as they reached the last 16.
Last season, he played 26 times to help Roma finish second in Serie A, behind Juventus.