Patient Conte tight-lipped on transfer targets

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is prepared to be patient over the club’s transfer activity this month and again declined to comment on the Blues’ rumoured targets.

Premier League champions Chelsea have been linked with Roma’s Edin Dzeko and had reportedly turned to Stoke’s Peter Crouch, who is 37 on January 30, after West Ham’s Andy Carroll, another reported target, was discovered to have a serious ankle injury.

Should any move for former Liverpool and Tottenham striker Crouch materialise this month it would be a permanent deal, it is understood.

However, Conte was reluctant to comment on recruitment, taking his regular stance of deferring to the club hierarchy.

Asked if he was confident of adding the players he wanted to his squad, Conte said: “I’m confident?

Confident is a big word. We have to wait. I give my opinion to my club, but the final decision is for the club. “I have to wait and to see what happens during this transfer market. I’m very calm under this aspect.”

Conte, speaking ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League trip to Brighton today, refused to discuss any specific transfer links.

“It’s not right to talk about players of other teams. I’m not interested in it,” Conte added.

“I’m not interested in this conversation, also because this is disrespectful for my players, for the players of the other clubs.

“In this period there is a transfer market, if something happens, you know. You are the first media to know news.”

Chelsea are unbeaten in 11 games, but without a win in 2018, drawing all five games since the turn of the year. Conte’s men prevailed in Wednesday night’s FA Cup third-round replay against Championship Norwich on penalties after extra-time.

Pedro and Alvaro Morata are suspended for the trip to Brighton after their dismissals against Norwich, with both players receiving a first booking for diving. Willian was also shown a yellow card in an incident scrutinised by the video assistant referee.

Conte says Morata’s yellow card was unfair, but he criticised the striker’s response which earned him a second booking for dissent, while Pedro was rebuked for diving.

“We must be honest to accept Pedro dived,” Conte said.


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