Antonio Conte has dropped a massive hint he will not stand in two of his players’ way if they wish to leave Chelsea this month.
Michy Batshuayi has found game time hard to come by at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues manager clearly not fancying the Belgian and only picking him when his options are limited. In recent weeks, Conte has opted to play Eden Hazard in a central role to underline exactly what little future Batshuayi has at Stamford Bridge.
The former Marseille striker – signed in a £33million deal in the summer of 2016 – reportedly fears for his World Cup chances and Conte has indicated that both he, and out-of-favour David Luiz can leave this month if a suitable offer comes in.
“I was a player, I will understand if someone is worried about the World Cup,” said Conte. “I understand it’s very important to keep players very happy to stay here to work with us and I think this must be our priority.
“To keep the players happy to stay with us, to continue to work with us. At the same time, I was a player and I will understand if someone is thinking in this way (that they need to play more).”
However, Conte admitted on Tuesday that he may need to bring in players before he moves anyone on, adding: “Our squad is not big and 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.”
But Conte would prefer not to risk any disquiet behind the scenes if Luiz, Batshuayi, or any other Chelsea player, decides they want to leave Stamford Bridge this month.
Conte said: “I prefer to have players very happy to stay here than to have players that are unhappy because when you are unhappy you transfer this to the other players, to me, to my staff and I don’t like this. If we can avoid this, I’d like to avoid this situation.”
Conte’s remarks are likely to be directed at Luiz, who has dropped behind Andreas Christensen in Conte’s plans since falling out with the Italian earlier in the season.
The Brazilian – a £35million investment from PSG – is in his second spell at the club but has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Arsenal have also been suggested as a potential destination, but Arsene Wenger was quick to nip that in the bud on Tuesday.
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