Chelsea: The Business Antonio Conte Needs To Do in January Transfer Window

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte at Selhurst Park, London, December 17. Conte will look to the transfer window in January. Dan Mullan/Getty

After watching his Chelsea side record its eleventh consecutive league win on Saturday, a club-equalling record, Antonio Conte was in reflective mood.

He looked back to September, when Chelsea was gifting goals in a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal and, earlier in the month, to Liverpool in a 2-1 loss. Conte's side was far from the top of the tree. He remembered a metaphor he had used to describe his job at Stamford Bridge.

"I said one thing: The manager must be a tailor," Conte recalled. "They must try to find the right fit for your team." By this, Conte said, he didn't just mean the 3-4-3 system that has transformed Chelsea's season but, also, a spirit and togetherness.

When the transfer window slides back open on January 1, 2017, Conte will have his measuring tape out once again, nipping and tucking at the Blues squad to add further grit and style to this suave suit that is mesmerizing English football. Here, Newsweek looks at what business the Italian may look to complete in the mid-season window:

Where Blues Can Improve

If the last 11 games are anything to go by, the margin for improvement is slim-to-none. In 16-and-a-half hours of Premier League football, Chelsea has conceded just twice and scored 25 goals.

Where Conte may be keen to bring in reinforcements, though, is attack, as back-up to the prolific hitman Diego Costa who has scored 13 goals this season. The only other striker in the ranks is summer-signing Michy Batshuayi, who has made fleeting appearances from the bench.

Another consideration for Conte is the defense. A back-three consisting of David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta have proved an indomitable force, but Chelsea needs back-up options. Kurt Zouma is returning from injury while John Terry looks set to be in his final season at Stamford Bridge.

Possible Incomings

Conte is likely to reopen his interest in the two players that escaped him in the summer. The first, Leonardo Bonucci, was one of his trusted pillars at the back during three years in Turin with Juventus. The 29-year-old center-back offers experience from his six years at the Italian giants, which has seen him win five Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia's. Bonucci would be a more natural player for the system Chelsea plays at the back compared with Cesar Azpilicueta, who has excelled out of position.

Antonio Conte was also keen on a former Chelsea player, sold by Jose Mourinho in 2014. Romelu Lukaku, now at Everton, was the subject of interest from the Italian during the summer but Everton was reportedly not willing to sell. The Belgian striker has scored 37 goals in 83 league games for the Toffees, and the club is eager to keep hold of him. Conte may try his luck again this January as the loss of Diego Costa to injury could derail this powerful juggernaut.

Who's Heading For The Exit?

Brazilian midfielder Oscar appears to have one foot already out the door and onto the gilded path toward the Chinese Super League. The 24-year-old is believed to have agreed a deal with Shanghai SIPG, managed by former Chelsea boss Andre Villas Boas, for £60 million ($74 million) with a salary of £400,000 a week. Oscar has not been a regular in Conte's team, with his last start coming in September.

Another out-of-favor midfielder in west London is John Obi Mikel . The Nigerian has been at Stamford Bridge for a decade now, but has fallen in and out of favor with different Chelsea managers. The 29-year-old has not played a single minute of football this season for Conte and is believed to be looking for a new club to transfer to in January.