Chelsea coach set to phase out Ivanovic, Cahill from squad

CahillAnthonio Conte is ready to launch a ruthless defensive clear-out, following his side’s calamitous 3-0 defeat by Arsenal on Saturday.

Branislav Ivanovic and central defender Gary Cahill, at fault for Arsenal’s first goal, are expected to be phased out as the Chelsea boss looks to bolster his back four, who have conceded 12 goals in just four games.

The pending returns of skipper John Terry and fellow centre back Kurt Zouma from injury will provide more options for Conte in the coming weeks.

But with 35-year-old Terry’s career drawing to a close, Conte has his eye on signing a new full back and two centre backs, which could also cast doubts over David Luiz’s position as a first-choice central defender.

Conte failed to land his top defensive targets in the summer – Leonardo Bonucci, of Juventus, and Kalidou Koulibaly, of Napoli. He eventually added left back Marcos Alonso and Luiz, who returned to the club from Paris Saint-Germain.

But Conte still believes he needs to increase his options at the back in the next two transfer windows.

Sportsmail highlighted earlier this month how the club had begun a scouting drive to identify the best emerging home-grown central defensive talent.

Burnley’s Michael Keane and Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson are two that have been watched extensively by Blues scouts.

Conte was visibly agitated following the damaging defeat at the Emirates Stadium when questioned about his side’s shocking display at the back.

David Luiz sums up the mood in the Chelsea defence that were all over the place at Arsenal

“Was I angry at half-time? Yes, but I prefer to keep my words, because it’s right when I talk with my players, to keep what I tell them,” Conte said.

“This is normal. Sure I was angry, but my players were also angry. Because we weren’t satisfied with our game, with our performance. I don’t sleep, sure. I don’t sleep. This is normal.

“After this game, this defeat, it’s normal for me not to sleep. I reflect. And it’s important to reflect.”

– DailyMail


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