Reject Real Madrid offer for Hazard & what else Chelsea must do to win Champions League

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The Blues have once again proven themselves the best team in England but conquering the continent will require big investment in the right players


GOAL COMMENT

Giovanni Trapattoni reminisced last year that former Juventus president Giovanni Agnelli would come to him after particularly pragmatic victories and say, "Today, I was not entertained, but the important thing is that we won. Well done."

Batshuayi mental! Conte makes right call to seal title

In Turin, winning is all that matters. Indeed, after Juve had clinched a place in the Champions League final against Monaco during the week, one Bianconeri supporter proudly showed off a tattoo on his forearm which read, "Winning is not important - it's the only thing that counts."

Roman Abramovich, though, views things somewhat differently. He doesn't just want Chelsea to win; he wants them to do so in style. Antonio Conte has achieved that difficult assignment in his first season in England. However, now he must do so in Europe, and it will be an even more onerous challenge.

Conte has yet to prove himself in continental competition - he never made it beyond the Champions League quarter-finals in two attempts at Juventus - but there is arguably no more capable coach in the game today.

Consequently, in order to triumph in Europe, the first thing that Chelsea must do this summer is...


GIVE CONTE WHATEVER HE WANTS


Antonio Conte Chelsea Premier League

Inter are a mess right now, on and off the field. Since the start of pre-season, they have parted company with three coaches, while they look set to fail to even qualify for the Europa League.

Essentially, they are the same level of "crap" as Juventus when Conte took charge in Turin in 2011, which is precisely why the Nerazzurri's relatively new Chinese owners believe that the Chelsea boss is the right man to get their fallen giant back on its feet.

Less than three weeks ago, Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio had dinner with Conte to discuss a possible return to his native Italy, where both the coach's wife and daughter still reside.

In response, Abramovich is willing to offer Conte a massive pay rise in order to keep him at Stamford Bridge. Money will not be the motivating factor, though, at least not in terms of the Italian's weekly pay packet.

Firstly, it is believed that Conte's family are willing to join him in west London. Whether they do so, though, hinges on Chelsea's summer recruitment plans. After all, this is a man who walked away from Juventus after three consecutive title-winning seasons due to a dispute over transfer targets.

Chelsea must, therefore, sign the players that Conte covets most, which effectively means...


SNAP UP ALEXIS SANCHEZ


Alexis Sanchez Tottenham Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez likes living in London. He also wants to play for a "winning" team. So, signing the Arsenal attacker should be little more than a formality for Chelsea, right?..

Unfortunately, persuading the Gunners to part company with their star man will be easier said than done. Alexis has been the one shining light in an otherwise gloomy campaign for Arsene Wenger's side, with the Chile international having become the first Arsenal player since Robin van Persie to score 20 goals or more in a single Premier League season.

Of course, there's hope in there for Chelsea because the Gunners sold Van Persie to Manchester United on the back of his 30-goal haul in 2011-12 because the prolific but ambitious Dutchman only had a year left on his contract. They are in the same unenviable situation with Alexis.

Wenger insists that the former Barcelona man will be retained even if he does not extend a contract that expires in 2018 but logic - or perhaps more importantly, the market - dictates that a precious commodity must be sold before its value depreciates to zero.

Arsenal will try to sell Alexis oversees - and both Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain are interested - but Chelsea can offer him a genuine shot at winning the Champions League without having to leave a city in which he himself says he is "happy".

Given he only has a year remaining on his contract, Alexis would prove a bargain no matter what the eventual fee, given he is at the peak of his powers, the kind of tenacious attacker that Conte loves and is versatile enough to play alongside a true centre-forward.

Chelsea have been linked with a string of No.9s but they must...


SIGN MORATA - NOT LUKAKU


Alvaro Morata Real Madrid

Diego Costa has played an integral role in Chelsea's title triumph, netting 20 league goals, as well as leading the line to great effect, even during the drought he experienced following a January transfer window dominated by rumours that he was ready to accept a money-spinning move to the Chinese Super League.

The suspicion that the Brazilian-turned-Spaniard wants to take the money and run has never gone away, though, and Chelsea would be foolish to turn down a lucrative offer from the Far East for a player who will turn 29 later this year. And Abramovich did not build a financial empire in Russia by failing to capitalise on obvious opportunities to make easy money.

The funds raised by letting another Blue depart for China would enable Chelsea to invest heavily in a younger, more talented forward. Romelu Lukaku ranks high on Chelsea's wanted list but the Belgium international would simply not be worth the enormous fee that Everton will demand.

Xhaka paying back his £30m transfer fee

Granted, Lukaku is a fine forward. He is not the Premier League's top scorer for nothing. But for perhaps two-thirds of the mooted £80m fee, Chelsea could instead get their hands on Alvaro Morata.

Lukaku and Morata are both 24 but only one has already proven himself capable of scoring against the best sides in the biggest competitions - and it is not the striker plying his trade at Goodison Park.

What truly sets Morata apart, though, is his remarkable strike rate, even when restricted to limited game time. He has scored 15 times in La Liga this term, despite only being afforded 13 starts, averaging a goal every 83.6 minutes. By contrast, Lukaku's goals-to-minutes ratio is 132.4.

Morata is lethal - his shot conversion rate is better than anyone in Spain, including top scorer Lionel Messi - and Conte knows this. It was the Italian, after all, who persuaded Morata to join Juve in the summer of 2014.

The Spaniard has never forgotten this. He has served under Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Massimiliano Allegri and Zinedine Zidane yet says that the coach who invested the most faith in him is the one for whom he has never played.

Morata says that will change "sooner or later". Chelsea should ensure it is the former and, at the same time...


REJECT ANY REAL OFFER FOR HAZARD


Eden Hazard Chelsea Southampton

The obvious danger in entering into any negotiations with Real Madrid for Morata is that the European champions would doubtless bring up Eden Hazard. Real coach has never hidden his admiration for Hazard, publicly enthusing as far back as 2015, "I love the player."

The worry for Chelsea fans is that the feeling is mutual. "When I was little, I watched Zidane on television and the internet for hours," Hazard revealed. "I talked Zidane and I ate Zidane!"

The Belgian would clearly relish the opportunity to play under his childhood hero and Real are always looking to sign a new Galactico - now more so than ever, given Gareth Bale is constantly injured.

However, Hazard is not the stereotypical footballer. He is driven neither by fame or fortune. He is a quiet, reserved character whose primary focus is on looking after his family and they are presently settled and happy in London.

Hazard looks highly unlikely to push for a transfer in such circumstances, making Chelsea's task in holding on to him all the more straightforward, particularly now that he has rediscovered his very best form under Conte and is part of a winning team once more.

However, Chelsea will have a tougher time in trying to...


KEEP CESC & WILLIAN HAPPY


Willian Cesc Fabregas Chelsea

Whether Jurgen Klopp is right that "luck" played a part in Chelsea avoiding injuries to key players during their title-winning campaign is open to debate. What is beyond dispute, though, is that the Blues squad will be more rigorously tested next season when they return to European competition. Consequently, it is imperative that they deepen their pool of talent.

With Asmir Begovic set to depart for Bournemouth, Chelsea are looking for a new back-up goalkeeper. Centre-halves Virgil van Dijk, Aymeric Laporte, Kalidou Koulibaly and Antonio Rudiger are all under consideration to strengthen the back-line, while Michail Antonio is the desired target to provide an excellent alternative out wide.

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However, retaining the services of certain fringe players will prove just as integral to Conte's hopes of challenging for the Champions League. Cesc Fabregas and Willian would find a starting berth in most top-six sides and both are well aware of this.

Neither will be content to spend most of their time on the bench next season but Conte needs to convince them that they will see far more game time given the demands of fighting on two fronts.

It'll be tough job. Just like winning with style in Europe. But Conte is more than capable of making it happen.

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