Conte discusses Chiellini link and Chelsea’s recruitment plans

Date published: Tuesday 2nd January 2018 3:27 - Ian Watson

Antonio Conte says Chelsea must sign players before any leave.

The head coach has bemoaned the size of his squad, given the Blues are competing in four competitions.

With the winter transfer window now open, Conte believes Chelsea must recruit before allowing any players to move on.

“Our squad is not big. For this reason I think it’s impossible to send on loan one player or to sell one player, if we don’t take another player,” Conte said.

Chelsea play at Arsenal on Wednesday bidding for a victory to return to second place in the Premier League table, ahead of Manchester United.

The Italian side-stepped questions on transfers, with David Luiz still the subject of speculation after playing once since October.

Brazil defender Luiz could return in the FA Cup at Norwich on Saturday following a knee injury, but Andreas Christensen is now first choice in the centre of the three-man defence.

Conte would not be drawn on whether Luiz would stay at Chelsea by the closure of the transfer window, speaking generally, rather than specifically.

Conte said: “I’m very happy to work with these players, I trust these players. I don’t see a problem.

“At the same time I understand if some players are not playing with regularity and want to play with regularity.”

Conte says his participation on transfers is limited to making suggestions to director Marina Granovskaia, who leads on recruitment.

“My expectations can be a lot, or not,” Conte added.

“But the most important thing is my opinion. I try to give my opinion to the club and then the club has to take the best decision for the team.

“I’m only a coach. My main task is to work on the pitch with my players. If the club decide to ask me something about my team, I try to give my opinion.”

Conte dismissed rumours he was planning a move for Juventus stalwart Giorgio Chiellini.

“Some speculation is true, some is only speculation. For us I think we must be very focused on our target.

“Giorgio is a fantastic player but I think he wants to finish his career at Juventus.

Wednesday’s game is the first of three this month with Arsenal, Chelsea’s opponents in the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Conte intends to continue to rotate his options.

“In my plan, it’s very important to involve all my players,” Conte added.

“I think we are doing a really good job in this situation. We are making many rotations, but at the same time our results are positive. It means all my players are working very well.

“When you play against Arsenal every game is very important. Now tomorrow’s game is very important for the league.

“We want to try to do our best. We want to try to get three points, to give satisfaction to our fans.”

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