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Chelsea should be buoyant, brash and cocky going into the 2017-18 season but there is a dour mood hanging around the club after a fractious summer of disputes over transfers and star players.
Diego Costa is exiled in Brazil, while Antonio Conte has publicly expressed his dissatisfaction over the club's summer recruitment plan, which has left him with what he feels is lack of strength in depth.
That is not to say that Conte has not been backed in the transfer market, as Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata and Roma defender Antonio Rudiger have been brought in at a combined, estimated cost of £132 million.
Indeed, Bakayoko was always Conte's first-choice to strengthen his engine, while it was Conte who actually sanctioned Juventus' signing of Morata, even though the Spain striker did not arrive in Turin until after the Italian had departed, coincidentally, due to a dispute over transfer targets.
Meanwhile, the versatile and mentally resilient Rudiger has also long been admired by Conte, who would have acquired him last season had the German not suffered a serious knee injury.
Still, Conte is understandably perturbed by a lack of numbers, as Chelsea continue to profit from their stockpile of talent.
The Blues have made £173.2m from player sales in the past six months and Conte is disappointed that more of that money is not being reinvested into his squad, as he aims to be competitive on all fronts in his second season at Stamford Bridge.
Admittedly, most of those who departed did so with Conte's blessing, but the manager certainly didn't seem to want Nemanja Matic to be sold to a title rival in Manchester United - even if the club did receive £40m for a player likely to have been a reserve this term.
"Sometimes you have to accept this crazy transfer market and sometimes you have to accept different decisions but he is a great loss for us," the Blues boss said after the Serbian's sale.
Conte certainly appeared to be making a point when he included Kyle Scott among his substitutes for the Community Shield clash with Arsenal at the weekend.
Before the shootout loss at Wembley, the Blues' bench had, combined, made a grand total of one appearance for Chelsea and Conte will not be able to challenge for Champions League, while at the same time mounting a serious title defence, with such an inexperienced squad.
As Conte pointed out, even his new expensive arrivals will require a period of adjustment.
"Morata needs a bit of time but it is normal," he reasoned. "It is the same for [Antonio] Rudiger and [Tiemoue] Bakayoko. It is very important to have a good physical condition and to understand our idea of football."
Furthermore, many of Chelsea's most promising youngsters have fled, with the understandably impatient trio of Nathaniel Chalobah, Nathan Ake and Bertrand Troare having chosen to become bigger fish in smaller ponds - rather than spend another year on the bench or in the stands.
It is the sheer scale of player sales in comparison to the arrivals that is the most worrying and the loss of home-grown players is always hard to stomach, even with the inclusion of buy-back clauses.
Chelsea can easily turn around the negative feelings with the vast amount of money that they have in the bank by using some of it on new arrivals.
A tiny squad can be guided through the first few weeks of the season. Eden Hazard will return in September and Chelsea should be in a much healthier state by the time the transfer window shuts on August 31.
Conte's small squad means his work on and off the pitch will be harder in the coming month but if his appetite for new signings is sated, then those around Chelsea will be all smiles once again once the season really gets going.


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