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Chelsea striker search: Dzeko talks on hold for 24 hours; Batshuayi set for loan

2018 Serie A Football Inter Milan v Roma Jan 21st Photo by Giampiero Sposito/Action Plus via Getty Images

Both Chelsea and Roma are set to for some actual football action today (Wednesday), so talks regarding any transfers will take a backseat, especially as Dzeko is expected to still play for the Giallorossi as they visit Sampdoria.

While Emerson’s basically a done deal with an announcement expected on Thursday, the Dzeko deal remains deep in negotiations. Rumors have Chelsea offering anywhere from a 1.5-year to a 3.5-year contract, possibly with performance-based clauses for additional years (at the lower end). With the club apparently ready to dispense with its own transfer policies regarding players over 30 however, the 3.5-year deal is not out of the realm of possibilities, even if it would tie the striker to the club until 2021, by which time he will be 35.

Both clubs are “optimistic” however that an agreement will be found sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Antonio Conte confirmed that if Dzeko (or another striker) does come in this January, Michy Batshuayi will be heading out on loan. The 24-year-old has been linked with moves to Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund, Everton, West Ham, and a few others if we look back to the summer. There should be no shortage of takers for the talented finisher despite his inability to convince Conte of his qualities for the past season and a half.

“It’s the same as Kenedy [who joined Newcastle on loan on Tuesday, with Emerson incoming].

“If arrives another striker, then Batshuayi will go on loan. I think he wants to have the opportunity to play with regularity. I think this is right.

”If we stay with the same players from the start of the season, it doesn’t change. One player goes out, one player comes in. One player comes in, one player goes out. I think we have to try in every moment to be honest with our players. I don’t know if another striker will arrive for Chelsea.

”But, in this case, I don’t want to send away any player. But a lot of times it’s the player saying he prefers to go away to have the possibility to play regularly. Then you have to show you deserve to play every game.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard

Conte was rather cryptic about how involved Batshuayi may be in today’s League Cup semifinal second leg against Arsenal, though most reports seem to agree that he will not be starting a third straight match in eight days. With Morata injured (his back, this time), Chelsea could be looking at an all-smalls forward line once again, which has generally produced a fair few goals.

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