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Chelsea set Paris Saint-Germain midfielder as top choice to replace Oscar — report

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Liechtenstein v Italy - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

In his press conference this afternoon, Antonio Conte had plenty to say on Oscar’s situation but without saying much at all in the end. But he keeps calling it an incredible and amazing situation, which is no doubt due to the amazing amounts of money involved, both in terms of transfer fee and in terms of proposed wages.

“When there are incredible situations, it's very difficult to manage this.”

“My style is to take always the decision together with the club and to understand also some strange situations, some massive offers. Yeah, I always talk with the club, the board, and I explained my thoughts about every situation.”

“Then it's normal when you are in a club, you try and make the best decision. There are situations that are amazing and it's very difficult to try and solve the situation in the best way.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Telegraph

Oscar may not be playing much at the moment, but he was a starter at the beginning of the season, and Conte claims to still rate him quite highly. So the coach is probably concerned about depth issues should Oscar be sold, though, as usual, he refused to comment on any incoming rumors for potential replacements.

One name that will no doubt be mentioned several times is PSG’s Marco Verratti with whom we’re plenty familiar from our meetings in the Champions League, where he was a near constant thorn in our side.

There had been stray rumors since the start of the season of Chelsea potentially looking at the Italian midfielder who played under Conte for the national team, but according to the Daily Mail, Chelsea have now made Verratti the top priority for January.

"We are obviously pleased with the confidence that PSG firmly believe in Marco. His deal now runs until 2021, but the contracts are made and unmade in three minutes. We'll see PSG's aims, Marco is happy to be there, but he wants to win something important. He can not stay in a team that does not win."

"It's a matter of motivation. Occasionally, you have to try new adventures, not now, because we hope to stay as long as possible, but will come a day when it will face this discussion."

-Donato Di Campli; source: So Foot via Metro

The previous rumors were fueled by Verratti’s agent just doing his job. But with director Marina Granovskaia supposedly on the case now, Chelsea are hoping to sign Verratti for less than £40 million even though his current contract with PSG is set to run through 2021.

Paris Saint-Germain are currently sitting third in Ligue 1, after four years of dominating the domestic scene. And while they remain in contention for the Champions League, they are set to face Barcelona in the knockout round.

Despite their current struggles, PSG are still a rich club with high ambitions. It is highly unlikely that they would let go of Verratti easily. Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to try, does it?