Antonio Conte has discussed his admiration for Alexis Sanchez and the prospect of the attacker moving this month.
Sanchez has been linked with a January move, with Manchester United rumoured to have joined Manchester City in the race to recruit him.
Conte was spotted speaking to Sanchez in the tunnel at Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg with the Gunners on Wednesday night.
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Conte said: “I said ‘hello’. He’s a great player and he knows very well in my first season in Juventus we tried to buy him from Udinese. Then he decided to go to Barcelona.
“He knows very well my admiration for him. It was a good chance to say ‘hello’ to him.”
Asked if more could be read into their conversation, Conte added: “No, not other situation or other conversation. For sure I have great admiration for great players. I think Alexis Sanchez is one of these players and I stop.”
Conte was asked whether Chelsea should join the race for Sanchez, but the Blues boss appears to expect City to pounce in a cut-price deal.
“If Manchester City wants Alexis Sanchez, they buy Alexis Sanchez. They don’t have problem about money,” Conte added.
“We are talking about a top player in a moment when you can buy him with a price not so high.”