There’s a fancy two-page spread in today’s edition of that famous pink-papered daily, Gazzetta dello Sport, that’s all about Antonio Conte, who just happens to be in charge of the team that’s sitting on top of the Premier League.
Long & in depth Conte interview in today's Gazzetta. Chelsea fans should give it a read. pic.twitter.com/0bgIXPVdNh— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) November 22, 2016
Obviously, it’s in Italian, which is where the ever helpful Football Italia comes into play. They have it broken down into three parts, with one part talking (again) about how he arrived at the 3-4-3 formation for Chelsea, another part talking about Juventus’s ambitions, and a third part, the part we’re interested in, talking about January transfer plans and about a few key players in the news lately.
The key question is of course over the futures of Fàbregas and Oscar, as well as any reinforcements coming in. Chelsea have mostly been linked with defenders and midfielders, though Conte unsurprisingly wasn’t about to reveal too much.
“It’s gossip, I’m not going to send [Oscar and Fàbregas] away. They’re important players for Chelsea.”
“A defender in January? It’s premature to talk about it, the squad is complete.”
While I’m sure Conte plans on keeping both players, whether they’ll be willing to stay is perhaps another story. Players like to play and we’ve seen many others depart in similar circumstances in recent seasons (see: Mata, De Bruyne, Schürrle, Ramires, just to name a few).
Their futures will no doubt dictate January transfer market activity, too, though relying on the winter market to make massive signings is not usually a great plan. At best, you end up overpaying. At worst, you end up overpaying for Fernando Torres.
Speaking of strikers, Conte also had a few really nice words about our current starting trio of forwards.
“Pedro? He has qualities of absolute excellence. He’s perfect for the 3-4-3.”
“As for Diego Costa, Diego is one of the best strikers in the world. For us it’s not just important that he’s a goalscorer, but that he works for the team. The progression in his behaviour is thanks to his application. He realised he had to grow in terms of his temperament.”
“Eden Hazard? Eden’s talent is beyond question, he’s a world class player and a great lad. He has a surprising maturity for his age. He’s already built a family and he’s only 25.”
But the highest praise was saved for none other than Victor Moses, whose level of skill has left Conte dumbfounded that the wing-back had been overlooked by some many other coaches previously.
“I could see his potential from the first days of the summer training camp. Moses has important qualities: technique, physical strength, the ability to cover seventy meters of the pitch.”
“I find it incredible that someone like him has been underestimated.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Gazzetta dello Sport via Football Italia
The rest of this part talks a bit more about the squad’s diet and Conte’s daily routine, so be sure to check that out.