Chelsea will play Southampton in the FA Cup semifinals in April at Wembley. The FA Cup is Chelsea’s last opportunity to win a trophy this term as Antonio Conte’s side has crashed out of the Champions League and are currently 25 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City. The Blues are also five points behind fourth place Tottenham, and the likelihood of missing out on Champions League football next season is high.
Life without Champions League football
Regardless if it is through the FA Cup or the league, Chelsea may spend 2018-19 playing in the Europa League. It is a competition that has seen Arsenal qualify for the last eight this year. Next season, it could be a competition for Chelsea to bleed several young players and to gain a European trophy; but the side could see its top stars leave without playing Champions League football.
There is still some discrepancies over whether Conte will be manager of the Blues after this season. Conte has butted heads with players and Chelsea’s board. It was believed he could have been dismissed had Chelsea not qualified for the FA Cup semifinals.
Eden Hazard is one player already being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge. The Belgian is a target of Real Madrid. The move could be devastating for Chelsea. Hazard has been the club’s talisman since joining from Lille in 2012. Hazard has helped the club win four trophies during his time at Stamford Bridge, and replacing him will be incredibly difficult.
Hazard isn’t the only player on the wish-list of other clubs. Marcos Alonso is being linked to Barcelona and Willian has been rumoured to be on the radar of a number of clubs following his Champions League performances.
The Blues’ transfer record under Conte has been poor. The manager did more harm for the club in the previous offseason than good. He ran of Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic, and their replacements have done little to help the side push to regain the Premier League title.
According to reports, Chelsea has already identified one player to sign in the offseason. It isn’t one to get fans too excited as the Blues head the list of teams tracking Luke Shaw. The Manchester United player is continually torn apart by manager Jose Mourinho, and the full-back just wants to find a new place to play his football.
Chelsea seem to lack a plan going forward. The side may not only miss out on Champions League football next term, but the side may need to replace its manager and key players. Next season’s Chelsea could resemble this term’s Arsenal, if Conte and company cannot overhaul Tottenham for fourth place in the Premier League.