Conte’s clear mes­sage to Chelsea

‘We have only 16 play­ers. We need to spend mil­lions and mil­lions more. Or else’

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By John Percy

An­to­nio Conte is tar­get­ing a huge spend­ing spree at Chelsea this sum­mer as he bids to re­build his ti­tle-win­ning squad.

Conte has al­ready bro­ken the club’s trans­fer record with the £58 mil­lion sign­ing of Al­varo Mo­rata but has sent out a clear mes­sage dur­ing Chelsea’s tour of the Far East that more play­ers are re­quired.

Chelsea’s squad has re­duced since se­cur­ing the Pre­mier League ti­tle af­ter the de­par­tures of for­mer cap­tain John Terry, Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah, while Diego Costa is set to join Atletico Madrid and Ne­manja Matic is wanted by Manch­ester United.

An­to­nio Rudi­ger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Willy Ca­ballero were signed be­fore Mo­rata’s record move, tak­ing the sum­mer spend­ing to­wards the £130mil­lion mark. But Conte has de­manded more sign­ings as he pre­pares to de­fend the ti­tle and chal­lenge in the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time since his ap­point­ment at Stam­ford Bridge in 2016.

“We need to im­prove the qual­ity and im­prove the squad be­cause next sea­son will be very tough for us,” he said. “We are 16 play­ers, with­out the goal­keep­ers, and to face four com­pe­ti­tions in a good way we need more play­ers.

“We are in a mo­ment where we have to cre­ate solid foun­da­tions for this club, we have lost a lot of big play­ers that were fun­da­men­tal at Chelsea. We can’t make a mis­take be­cause it’s very dan­ger­ous. I re­peat, we need to im­prove and in­crease our squad and to be some­thing im­por­tant for the present but also for our fu­ture.

“I have spo­ken with the club, they know this sit­u­a­tion very well and we are try­ing to find the right so­lu­tion.”

Conte pledged his own fu­ture to the cham­pi­ons by sign­ing a new two-year con­tract ear­lier this week and Chelsea’s board are hope­ful of at least an­other three sign­ings ahead of the new sea­son.

Chelsea are also fully sup­port­ive of Conte’s stance on Costa, who will be axed this sum­mer af­ter his re­la­tion­ship with the club hit rock bot­tom. And Chelsea’s man­ager has ex­panded on the rea­sons be­hind Costa’s im­pend­ing sale, in­sist­ing the squad will cope with­out last sea­son’s lead­ing scorer.

“Only one player is not im­por­tant. The most im­por­tant thing is the team, the squad and it’s im­por­tant now to be to­gether. You can’t just lose it af­ter one player,” he said.

“I want to clar­ify the sit­u­a­tion be­cause in Jan­uary it was very clear for the club, for Costa, for his agent, that when we ar­rived in June then it would be fin­ished. It was very clear from Jan­uary.”

Friendly fire: Michy Bat­shuayi scores one of his two goals in Chelsea’s 3-0 vic­tory over Arse­nal at the Bird’s Nest sta­dium in Bei­jing yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.