CONTE FACES A RUDI TOUGH SUM­MER

£35m de­fender signs but Ancelotti says Blues need to ‘buy a lot’

Daily Mirror - - SPORT - BY DAR­REN LEWIS

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.

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