Wednesday 28 September 2016

Conte happy to play waiting game for striker and central defender in 'crazy transfer market'

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Published 13/08/2016 | 02:30

Antonio Conte refused to discuss any particular transfer targets in his first
pre-match press conference yesterday. Picture Credit: Action Images via Reuters / Tony O'Brien
Antonio Conte refused to discuss any particular transfer targets in his first pre-match press conference yesterday. Picture Credit: Action Images via Reuters / Tony O'Brien

Antonio Conte has admitted that Chelsea have to "wait" to land their top targets over the final weeks of the August window as they adjust to life in the "crazy transfer market".

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Chelsea have made only two new signings this summer - Ngolo Kante from Leicester City and Michy Batshuayi from Marseille - and have been frustrated in their pursuit of another centre-forward and centre-back.

As a result, they will not face West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Monday night in Conte's first game in charge with quite the first team the new manager would have been hoping to field.

Conte does not like to talk about transfers in public, and would not discuss any particular targets in his first pre-match press conference at Cobham yesterday.

But he did say that the inflated state of the market was restricting Chelsea's ability to sign the players that they want.

"Every single club adapts transfer policy," Conte said.

"I think Chelsea is waiting for the right solution. In this moment it is not easy. It is a crazy transfer market.

"When you try to buy one player, the cost is very expensive. It is a very strange situation. We are waiting for the solution."

Conte, who has seen Napoli reject a number of bids for central defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Everton demanding £75m for Romelu Lukaku, added: "I talk every day with the club.

"We have a plan, but we know the transfer market is very crazy. We must be patient to find the right solution.

"Every single club wants to improve because they want to fight for the title, and every single club adapts their transfer policy in line with their own idea. It's not easy."

Conte insisted that he was content to go into Monday's game with the players he already has at his disposal.

"It is important to think for the present," Conte said.

"I talk every day with the club and we have a plan. This transfer market is very crazy. We must be patient. I am happy to work with these players."

There are still question marks hanging over many of the players who Conte inherited, including Nemanja Matic.

Despite speculation linking Matic with a move to Conte's former club Juventus, Conte insisted the Serbian midfielder was part of his plans.

"Nemanja is an important player for me and he knows this," Conte said. "There is not a problem with him. He is a Chelsea player."

While Conte famously played 3-5-2 with Juventus and with Italy at Euro 2016, he insisted that he was not attached to that system at Chelsea and would choose the best formation for his players.

"In my past I played with three or four defenders, but it is important for the coach to understand the right fit for the team," he said.

"My first experience in Siena I played 4-2-4 and when I arrived Juventus I started with 4-2-4, then changed 4-3-3, then changed to 3-5-2. With the national team in two years we changed to different to system to find the right solution.

"A manager must understand to get to know the players and to find the right solution. Now in pre-season, we have found two solutions but in the future it can happen."

Conte revealed that 20-year-old forward Bertrand Traore has joined Ajax on loan for the rest of the season after signing a new three-year contract with the Blues.

"Traore is a good player and together, the club and the player, we prefer him to have a season to play every game. He is a good prospect and he will come back an even better one," said the manager.

Independent News Service

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