Saturday 3 December 2016

New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte 'will try to keep' Diego Costa, 'could sell' Thibaut Courtois

Mark Critchley

Published 05/04/2016 | 14:27

Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois face uncertain futures at Chelsea
Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois face uncertain futures at Chelsea

Incoming Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte will attempt to keep unsettled striker Diego Costa but could be willing to let go of some the club’s senior players, according to reports.

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The Italy coach, who will assume control at Stamford Bridge after this summer’s European Championships in France, may sanction the exit of Thibaut Courtois as part of his squad restructuring.

According to The Times, Conte is prepared to listen to offers ‘at the right price’ for the Belgium international, who has attracted interest from Real Madrid despite his form suffering from a knee injury he sustained earlier in the season.

Costa, meanwhile, reportedly feels as though he is being unfairly targeted by officials and journalists in England, following several high-profile controversies this season.

The Brazilian-born Spain striker, who is currently serving a three-game ban, is apparently keen to return to former club Atletico Madrid, but Conte will try and persuade him to stay.

Elsewhere in the squad, John Terry is still expected to leave Chelsea when his contract expires at the end of the season though, according to the report, Conte could yet intervene and offer the 35-year-old a new deal.

Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao are also expected to depart when their respective loan deals expire, while Oscar, Baba Rahman and Nemanja Matic could also be dispensed of when the former Juventus manager takes charge.

With regards to incoming targets, Conte has reportedly named Arturo Vidal, the Bayern Munich midfielder who previously played under him at the Bianconieri, as part of his shortlist, as well as Roma’s Radja Nainggolan.

Juan Cuadrado, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Chelsea, may be in line for a return if Conte can successfully block his former club’s attempt to make the Colombian winger’s stay in Turin permanent.

Conte’s first game in charge of his new club is likely to be against Liverpool, when the two Premier League rivals face each other in a pre-season friendly on July 27, as part of the annual International Champions Cup.

Independent News Service

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