After Sunday’s emphatic defeat to local rivals Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, there is fresh doubt that Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte may not see the season out.
Despite reaffirming his ambition to finish his contract at Stamford Bridge, the Italian is widely expected to leave the club at the end of the current campaign.
We’ve taken an in-depth look at how everything could pan out should Conte leave the club, who could replace him and the changes we could see at Stamford Bridge next season.
The Italian has failed to hide his frustrations this season after missing out on several key transfer targets throughout the summer.
The former Juventus boss was quick to point out how tough it would be for Chelsea to retain their Premier League title.
With the Blues now unable to match the spending powers of Manchester City, the club were always up against it, but the fractions between the head coach and board have been growing and growing throughout the campaign.
He didn’t get his number one targets last summer, it’s unlikely he’ll try his luck again.
Luis Enrique in?
Should Conte leave Chelsea will want to make a swift appointment to ensure a smooth transition over the summer.
One of the early front-runners for the job is former Barcelona boss Enrique.
The 47-year-old has been out of work since leaving Barcelona at the end of last season and would be one of the cheaper options available to the club.
Would that a mean return for Belletti?
As part of the deal to bring Enqriue to Stamford Bridge, it has been suggested that former Chelsea and Barcelona defender Juliano Belletti could return as a director of football.
The Brazilian has is highly thought of at Chelsea and not just for the brilliant goal he scored against Spurs too.
Chelsea have been looking to fill the void left by for technical director Michael Emenalo, who left for Monaco last year.
Belletti would work closely with the new manager and Marina Granovskaia behind the scenes.
Emenalo’s departure has been a huge factor in Conte’s frustrations at the club. His departure has distanced the Italian from the board and heightened his anger towards the recruitment policy.
A change of system?
Conte was willing to experiment when he first arrived at Chelsea. The Blues tried 4-2-3-1 and 4-2-4 but neither worked. They’d go on to win the title with Conte’s 3-4-3, a system that brought him so much success with both Juventus and the Italian national team.
It’s difficult to imagine what could happen if Enrique were to be the man to replace Conte.
During his time at Barcelona, there was a huge emphasis on wide play and creating chances through both full-backs and the wingers.
What cannot be ignored is the front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez that Enrique had available to him.
The ‘MSN’ were at the heart of everything Barcelona did with the midfield largely being bypassed for the most part, sometimes to the detriment of the overall performance.
While a switch to 4-3-3 could still be on the cards, the inability to control games through midfield would undoubtedly see the former Barcelona boss struggle in the Premier League with such a style.
Transfers to fit that new system?
Attacking from wide areas was a catalyst in Enrique’s Barcelona and a forward-thinking right-back could be high on his list if he is to replace Conte.
As good as Victor Moses has been during Conte’s time at the Bridge he may well find his position under threat.
Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi could be one of the names linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
The Italian is a threat from deep positions and has been linked with a Premier League move in the past.
Who else is being linked with the job?
Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti is another name being linked with the job.
The Italian has been out of work since leaving Bayern Munich earlier this season.
Ancelotti was sacked by the Blues after finishing second in the Premier League the season after winning the domestic double.
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel is another outsider according to the bookmakers.
However, the German’s departure from the Bundesliga club will raise concerns for the Blues.
Tuchel’s time at Dortmund ended with several high-profile fallings out with a number of key club members behind the scenes.
Given the clashes the board have endured with Conte, they’re unlikely to turn to someone like Tuchel, who is also being heavily linked with Paris Saint-Germain.
Who faces the chop?
Moses has already been mentioned as one player that could see his position come under threat, but as with any change in the dugout, there could well be a number of changes within the squad.
January signing Danny Drinkwater may find game time hard to come by under a new manager, who will undoubtedly want to bring in his own players.
There could also be more changes on the card in defence with concerns over the immediate futures of both Gary Cahill and David Luiz, who have fallen out of favour under Conte.
Big stars to leave?
Not only could there be changes in the dugout, but failure to qualify for the Champions League could mean big names leave the club this summer.
Neither Eden Hazard or Thibaut Courtois have put pen to paper on a new deal yet.
With no Champions League football to offer them, the Blues will either have to put their hands in their pockets and stump up the necessary money to keep them at the club or the face the prospect of losing their star men.
Roma’s Allison and Gareth Bale could be considered as direct replacements, with the latter reportedly set to be sold by Real Madrid this summer.