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Can Chelsea Repeat Top Four Finish in 2019-20?

This promises to be a very uncertain summer at Stamford Bridge and, while there's nothing new in that, the stakes have rarely been higher throughout Roman Abramovich's time as owner of Chelsea. The Blues are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over a transfer ban imposed on them by European football's governing body UEFA against a backdrop of losing their best player.

Eden Hazard has long been coveted by Real Madrid, but the Bernabeu's call came amid their own need for renewal after a dismal season meant a move to Spain that could rise to over £150,000,000 was agreed. How's that for Galactico?

Worse still for Chelsea supporters is another managerial change which is set to affect their preparations for this season. Maurizio Sarri was under real pressure at times throughout a debut season in England which culminated in personal triumph. Europa League success - the Blues' third European trophy since 2012 - was Sarri's first major honour in coaching. A 4-1 romp over London rivals Arsenal emphasised the gap between Champions League calibre and the rest was probably wider than the final Premier League table suggested, but that wasn't enough for him to stay.

Sarri has opted to return to Italy with Juventus, having said the lure of his homeland is strong, and it's understandable considering his style wasn't popular with large sections of the Chelsea fanbase. They have lost their star turn without the means to replace Hazard should CAS uphold their transfer ban, and could be trying to attract a new coach to a club that isn't allowed to sign players in the short-term.

Maurizio Sarri at Baku before 2019 UEFA Europe League Final

While some bookmakers have the Blues at odds as low as 4/5 to repeat a top-four finish, bet365 have them at 1/1 to do so in their latest football betting on the 2019-20 Premier League season. That is thus relative value, provided some of their present obstacles are overcome.

Contract extensions for defender David Luiz, who has been repeatedly overlooked for international duty by Brazil boss Tite and earned just two caps since 2015, and France frontman Olivier Giroud were relatively low-key news towards the end of last season.

At a time when Hazard and Gary Cahill have both left the Bridge, these new deals may be more important than they seem. Giroud scored 11 times in Europe for Chelsea taking the Europa League Golden Boot outright from Luka Jovic, who netted home and away against the Blues for Eintracht Frankfurt in the semis and joins Hazard in a move to Madrid.

Senior players have taken on an extra level of importance despite Chelsea recruiting Christian Pulisic during the winter in a bid to replace Hazard before he even left. Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain may not make his loan spell with the Blues permanent now depending on Sarri's potential plans at Juventus.

With Alvaro Morata continuing a loan spell back in Spain with Atletico Madrid, Chelsea thus look light in the central striker position. If they cannot overturn the ban, then Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham who have spent plenty of time away from the Bridge could have a role to play in first-team affairs under Sarri or his successor.

With under two months until the new season starts, Chelsea will have to move quickly to fill their managerial vacancy and ensure they are as prepared as they can be for the new season considering they are under a transfer ban.