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Hazard doesn’t want Chelsea to sign new striker, but Batshuayi pushing for move

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Chelsea v Watford - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

Buoyed by Chelsea’s four-goal outburst against Brighton and the generally impressive interplay between himself, Willian, and Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard has not only hinted at wanting to play alongside Willian more often (Antonio, okay?), but has also urged Chelsea to reconsider the extra silly striker search that has seen the club linked with generally laughable transfer targets like Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch, or Ashley Barnes. (Emile Heskey, Grant Holt, Jan Koller, and Nikola Zigic probably complete that list in the next ten days. Gotta catch ‘em all.)

“I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy. If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another one].

”Football is simple — keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did. Because we are missing chances people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals, we are the best attack in the League and no-one can say we need a striker.

”It depends on the form of the team and I think we’re happy with the team we have.”

-Eden Hazard; source: Evening Standard

There were certainly plenty of things to be happy about as Chelsea more goals (4) in 90 minutes than in the previous 480 (3), including, indeed the work of Michy Batshuayi. Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte, who’s found it hard to convince himself to trust and play Batshuayi with any regularity, was also happy with the 24-year-old backup strikers’ performance.

“In my idea of football, we need a striker who must be a point of reference, to have these type of combinations. Batshuayi played a really good game -- he didn’t score, but he worked well for the team. He did what I asked him to do. The No.9 is an important player because I want him to be a point of reference to our team. I’m very satisfied with Batshuayi.”

-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN

Does that mean we might see more of Michy going forward, especially as Morata continues his cold streak?

Well...

“Batshuayi is a Chelsea player and we are working with him very hard in the same way that we are working with [Alvaro] Morata, we are working with [Eden] Hazard, Willian and Pedro and now with [Ross] Barkley. For me, Michy is a Chelsea player and in my mind there is the will to continue to work with him and to try to improve. Then I don’t know if the player decides to take other solution or if he wants to play with regularity.

”You don’t know, it can happen. But at the same time in my mind there is tomorrow to continue to work with all my players and try to improve everyone. I think if you are in a team like Chelsea, before you arrive in this type of team you know you have to challenge and this is a big challenge. You find a lot of good players. Otherwise you decide to stay in a medium team or low team and probably you can play every game. But I think that every single player that decides to come to Chelsea, they must be prepared to have this type of challenge.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Goal

The usual hard work and improvement angle aside, Conte does hint at Batshuayi perhaps working his way into more minutes. Surely, if he plays like he did against Brighton, or like how he did in pre-season or at the end of last season, he could have a case. “It can happen”, says Conte, which could just be diplomacy, or it could be a possibility.

That said, Conte does seem to hint at Batshuayi himself pushing for a move, with said minutes in mind.

“For sure in this period it is not simple, it’s not easy for the players — especially for the players who want to go on loan.

“It’s not simple but at the same time in my head there is the idea to work with these players and to continue to work with all these players. As I said during the press conference, I’m very happy to work with this group of players because they show me in every moment a great commitment, they show me they want to do what they want in the game.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Goal

Batshuayi leaving on loan has been a constant rumor for about a year now, with even Eden Hazard hinting that his countryman should look for more consistent playing time for his own sake. But on the heels of a good few months in the spring and summer, Batshuayi stayed. Now that Hazard is urging him to stay, will he do that opposite once again?

Batshuayi pushing for a move is not something we’ve really heard before, but it would make some sense, especially if he feels he’s not getting his chances under Conte. The assumption has been that Conte would also love this to happen as well (and get someone like Llorente or Dzeko in instead?).

Perhaps they can both change their minds and save us a good bit of money, heartache, and banter.

“Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, (Gabriel) Jesus and (Sergio) Aguero, are not big.

”It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy. It depends how you want to play.”

-Eden Hazard; source: Evening Standard

Conte is unlikely to change his preferred “idea” of a no.9, but as he’s shown by playing three small forwards at times, may be willing to try out new things when needed. Perhaps somewhere among all those possibilities, there is an ideal outcome where Batshuayi stays, plays and we don’t bother ourselves. with transfer nonsense.