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Italian national team manager Antonio Conte has emerged favourite to become the new Chelsea boss after this summers European Championships when his current contract ends.

If Conte does sign a deal with the Blues, he will look to make his mark on the side and bring in new players and also sell some that he doesn’t feel he needs.

The Italians primary target is rumoured to be Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan, according to the daily telegraph, which could prove troublesome for the likes of John Obi Mikel. Another player that could struggle to keep his place is unfavoured goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who hasn’t even managed to break through into the team as Chelsea’s ‘cup goalkeeper’. Everton and Norwich are both said to be interested in the former Stoke City shot stopper.

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With hope all but gone this season for a respectable league finish, what is the best outcome for the Blues in this campaign?

Champions League

Well, of course winning the Champions League is the ultimate goal. But unless the miracles of 2012 are to be repeated that could prove to be mission impossible. With this seemingly the Blues only way in to Champions League football next season, winning it will take priority. But with sides like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid looking as dangerous as ever, as well as overturning a 2-1 deficit against PSG just to reach the quarter finals, this could well be beyond Chelsea.

FA Cup

After a 5-1 thrashing of Manchester City in the FA Cup on Sunday, the Blues will look to this competition as a real chance of silverware to bring some success to this season. With Everton away in the quarter finals though it’ll prove to be a tough encounter and the Londoners will have to be at their best to progress to Wembley.

Premier League

Being fourteen points behind the top four spots with only twelve games to play, that is surely out of reach. But after one of the toughest of seasons for the fans, the Blues will be hoping to finish strong and a top six finish is not beyond them with Saturdays opponents Southampton seven points ahead in sixth place, that is a target that can be achieved.

Verdict

With the dismissal of Mourinho and the team in disarray for half the season, a top six finish and an FA Cup triumph would be seen as a minor success at Stamford Bridge. Although the Champions League is still the dream and should take priority. Realistically it will probably be a step too far and the Blues players and fans will find it difficult without top flight European football next season.

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After news breaking that Massimiliano Allegri would be signing a new deal with Juventus, the Blues other Italian target Antonio Conte has “agreed a deal in principle” to sign for Chelsea according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Conte is currently the Italian national team manager, but his deal expires after the European Championships in France this summer.

The Italian won three Serie A titles in a row with Juventus before taking over the national team in 2014 and is expected to take over at Stamford Bridge this summer if reports in Italy are proved to be true.

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Chelsea managerial target Massimiliano Allegri is set to sign a new deal with Italian champions Juventus, rather then joining the Blues according to the clubs chief executive Beppe Marotta.

Allegri has been heavily linked with the vacant role in West London since Jose Mourinho was dismissed in December. Chief executive Marotta told La Domenica Sportiva “The conditions for Allegri’s contract renewal are all there.’

‘Allegri has done very well. The cycle has just started with him and I believe we can continue with him.

‘On top of that, finding a club better than Juventus isn’t easy. I think that he can still get great pleasure from this team, thus there is no Allegri problem.’

Allegri guided Juventus to the Serie A title and the Champions League final last season.

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Guus Hiddink has been full of praise for Eden Hazard after coming back from injury and finding some form.

The Belgian international winger scored in Chelsea’s emphatic 5-1 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup and has seemingly hit a bit of form after struggling over the Christmas period.

Hiddink told Chelsea TV how pleased he is with Hazard out on the pitch and in training.

“Eden Hazard came back very strong. That’s what I like very much. He has had setbacks in recent period caused by injuries and it’s not easy to come back.

“He trained well. Bit by bit he got more minutes in the games and it’s rewarded now by his assists and goal. That’s good.

“Everyone was focusing on him. Of course we protect him, but we also ask him what he can do — and he did [show what he can do].”

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Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is currently in charge of Chinese Super League team Shanghai SIPG and claims that John Terry is the talk of China and would be a perfect fit.

Eriksson spoke to the sun.

“There is a lot of talk about John Terry in China. He has been one of the greatest defenders in the world for the last 15 years.

“He is still doing very well and has a lot to offer. He is one of the most recognisable players in world football, Chinese teams are looking for these big players.

“Great teams need great leaders and they do not come much better than John Terry. With his skill, his experience, he would be great in China, I have no doubt about that.”

John Terry’s contract comes to an end this summer and the centre-back has already said that he would not join another English team, he would move abroad.

 

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Chelsea captain John Terry is expected back in training on Tuesday according to the Daily Mail.

Terry, 35, picked up a hamstring injury against Newcastle on February 13th and has since missed the games against PSG and Manchester City.

The Blues will hope their captain is kept fit for the vital return leg against PSG at Stamford Bridge on 9th March.

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John Obi Mikel has spoken openly about how he, and “98 or 99 per cent” of the team want Guus Hiddink to stay as permanent manager at Chelsea.

The holding midfielder, who was a fringe player under Mourinho, has been one of the key figures during Hiddink’s tenure in which he has only lost one game since he took over from Mourinho in December.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard the Nigerian international said “If you speak to the players, 98 or 99 per cent of them want Guus to stay so I mean, we are very happy, we are performing well and let’s hope this continues. Obviously, definitely, I want him to stay. It is the choice of the owner, the club and the board. They will have to decide.”

“It depends on the board and it depends on Guus if he wants to continue. He has said that he is here until the end of the season, but you never know, he might change his mind. If the club want to appoint him, fair enough. His record speaks for itself. Let’s hope he stays.

“From day one, since Guus has come in, the atmosphere has changed. He has given responsibility to people and expects them to thrive on it and make sure they do it in a way where they feel comfortable. I think that is what the players are showing, now.”

“When you come into the training ground, he doesn’t get into people’s business, he gets on with his own thing and players feel very comfortable and know exactly what to do so when he gets on the training pitch, he doesn’t need to speak.”

“We all know what he wants and it is the same when we go into a game. We get on the pitch and know exactly what he wants. He doesn’t stand up that much to speak, but we know exactly what he wants.”

“When he gets upset he tries to clear the air straight away. He speaks to whoever is involved and lets you know what you have done is wrong. This football club is bigger than anyone and he puts the record straight, right away. He does not hold grudges. It is finished and we move on. You can see it with Diego [Costa]. It takes a lot to get Diego in a good mood!”

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BERTRAND TRAORE

After scoring his third goal in as many substitute appearances, Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore describes how he is happy for the team to progress in the competition.

The Burkina Faso international spoke to Chelsea’s Official website ‘It is a good feeling for me,’ said the 20-year-old. ‘Now I have to stay focused, working hard in training and try to take any opportunity I get.

‘I tried to put the ball in the back of the net. I think I was lucky with the goal but still I meant to put the ball in the net but not in that way.

‘I am happy for the team, happy with the performance and that I got another goal.

‘For a couple of games now we are in good shape. Everybody is okay, everybody is doing well and we have to keep going in the same way.’

Chelsea were the champions last season so of course we can win any competition,’ he points out. ‘We just have to push a little bit more and keep fighting for each other.

‘I like challenges so I am always ready to come on the pitch and show what I can do so I always train for this kind of moments.

‘Everyone wants to play every week as a starting number but I am young, I just have to fight and keep working hard and my time will come.

‘It is a privilege for me, coming from Africa as a young player and being coached by a great manager like Guus Hiddink so I am proud of that.’

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Manager Guus Hiddink has shared his views on Chelsea being drawn against Everton in the quarter-final of the FA cup at Goodison Park. Hiddink was the Interim manager of Chelsea when they faced Everton in the 2009 FA Cup final. He will have to beat them again if he is to stand any chance of winning the trophy for the second time in his second reign as the manager.

Hiddink told the BBC: “It was a long time ago. They are longing for revenge. We hope to maintain the flow we are in in the FA Cup.”

The Chelsea boss also shared his views on the game they played tonight,”Manchester City made changes but that doesn’t make it easy because the youngsters that came in were dangerous. It was key that we started well in the second half, got an early second and third goal.”

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