Antonio Conte anticipates Chelsea transfers in January with a forward the main target
Antonio Conte says he anticipates Chelsea doing business in January, with The Independent understanding that his main target is the type of forward player who can operate in a few positions across the front line.
The Italian is more content with his squad than in September - and again mentioned the progress of 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu - but says they will buy if the right deal becomes available. He also stated he still wants to improve the depth of his squad.
If there is the possibility to improve the squad on the numerical aspect, I think it would be a good choice,” Conte said. “But, at the same time, I'm enjoying working with these players. At this moment, I'm ready. Ready to continue to play with all these players. They are showing me great commitment, great behaviours, and I'm very happy to work with these players. At the same time, if there is the possibility to improve our squad, I think the club will try to do this.
“A difficult period is starting, especially for every club, for every coach. In this period there are a lot of rumours. Some rumours are true. Some rumours are wrong. We must be ready to face this situation. I think the best way for me is not to read [anything] and only talk with the club, and then to try to improve our squad if this is possible. If, I repeat, this is possible.
“But there will be a lot of rumours now. We must be ready to face them while, at the same time, be ready to be focused and go game by game. We play every three days, so it's not right that these rumours disturb us.”
Ampadu put in a fine performance in the 2-1 League Cup win over Bournemouth on Wednesday, and his progress means Chelsea’s need for defensive reinforcements isn’t as strong.
“Ampadu is part of the squad not from the start of the season, but after a month and a half he started to stay with us,” the manager said. “He trains with us every day, and is part of our squad. I have to try to make the best decision but, for sure, I can count on him.
“I think I showed this because, in the last game against Everton in the Carabao Cup, he played in the start as a midfielder. And then he played a part of the game against Huddersfield, and then he played from the start against Bournemouth in an important game for us. Don't forget, yesterday's win allowed us to reach the semi-finals, which is a great achievement for us. It means we are doing a good job together with all my players. Now it's important to continue in this way.
“I think this player is very humble. He's only 17 years old and he keeps his feet on the ground. I'm sure that this player will not lose his head. He's shown great maturity and great personality, great calmness and composure before and during the game and, for sure, after the game.”