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Conte reiterates stance regarding Chelsea’s January transfers

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Antonio Conte was grilled about transfer rumors regarding his own players over the weekend, so for this midweek game against Arsenal — wait, there is actual football, too, not just transfer rumors? — he was instead repeatedly quizzed about transfer rumors concerning other team’s players.

But just as over the weekend, Conte did not deviate from his standard answers to these sorts of questions. It’s a three-part situation:

  1. He does not talk about players of other teams. If he does, it’s nothing beyond the extent of saying a couple nice formalities, or, if it’s a player with whom he’s worked with extensively (Chiellini, Vidal, etc.), some personal praise stemming from that relationship.
  2. The job of signing players and making transfer decisions is the job of the club, not the head coach.
  3. The job of the head coach is to give his input to the club and then go back to coaching and improving the players currently in the squad. Fortunately, Conte loves his players and loves working with them.

Take it away, Antonio.

“There is lots of speculation and it is normal when the window starts. It is a difficult moment for every coach and for every club because you have to face much speculation and for sure, for some there is truth but others only speculation.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

"My expectation can be a lot or not, but the most important thing is my opinion. I try to give my opinion to the club and then the club has to take the best decision for the team. I can give my opinion but I'm only a coach. My first task is to work on the pitch with my players to improve my team. If the club decide to ask me something about my team I try to give my opinion."

-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN

If previous Januarys are any indication, Chelsea are not going to splash too much cash, if any significant amount at all, though we might engage in some wheeling and dealing if an opportunity presents itself. David Luiz, for example, has been heavily linked with a move away, but as Conte reminds, the squad is not all that big that we could afford losing any players, let alone someone of David’s caliber.

"I don't know what will happen and this is not my decison," Conte said. "It's the club's decision and it's not my decision. The club has to take the best decision to try to do the best for the team and for the club. I'm ready to face situations because I'm a coach and I have to work very hard with my players on the pitch."

-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN

“I am very happy to work with these players and I trust in these players. I don’t see a problem but at the same time I can understand if some players are not playing with regularity and want to play with regularity.

“My expectation is for all the players that we have in the squad to stay here and to try to continue to work, and also because our squad is not big and it is impossible to send on loan one player or sell one player if we do not take another player.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

One option that is always open to the club are recalling players from loan, especially those who aren’t playing as much as they should be (we see you, Lewis Baker). But such moves are not in the forefront of Conte’s plans at the moment. The emphasis on not recalling players who are actually playing seems like a good lesson learned from the Nathan Ake situation last year.

“I don't think this is realistic because the players that we send on loan are playing. I don't see a possibility to come back for some players. I remember last January, Kenedy and Musonda [also] came back to improve our squad, but in this transfer window I don't know.”

-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN

So other than the last answer, Conte, as usual, played his cards close to his chest. And will likely do so again when asked about transfer rumors next time as well.