With the January transfer window now open, Antonio Conte has spoken about the possibility of us seeing more new arrivals at Stamford Bridge this month.
The Blues made our first foray into the market yesterday by adding England international, Ross Barkley, to the squad from Everton on a five-and-a-half-year contract.
Our head coach was asked at his pre-Norwich press conference whether it was important or not to complete deals early in the window, as opposed to leaving it towards the end of the month.
‘This is true,’ Conte said. ‘It’s very important for me to work with the players quickly and I think for this reason, this is why our start to the season was poor.
‘Because the players we signed arrived at the last moment and some players arrived injured. [Tiemoue] Bakayoko and [Danny] Drinkwater both had injuries and [Davide] Zapapcosta arrived here at the last moment. If they come early [in the window], then it is good for me and for my players to work together.’
The Italian also gave a little insight into how the structure of a transfer deal works, with him in regular liaison with senior figures at the club concerning transfer targets.
‘I speak with my club,’ he explained. ‘There are priorities to improve the team, in certain roles, and I think in this situation, the best way is to speak with the club in the right moment and give my opinion to improve the team.
‘I tell the club which is the role we can improve, the prospects of the player, the characteristics of the players we need and then the club will try to help me. There isn’t just one list, there’s two, three lists and sometimes you can’t get the first name on the list.
‘Sometimes the club can make you happy, sometimes not, but it doesn’t change for me because my commitment is always the same. I try to work very hard with my players on the pitch. In this transfer window, if we sign some new players then I’ll be very happy, especially if the players are in these certain roles.’
Conte was pleased to see a deal for Barkley finalised, and he spoke about the qualities the former Everton man will bring to his squad.
‘We are talking about a player with great potential ability and I think he’s a complete player,’ said Conte. ‘But at the same time he’s very young and he has only just started his career.
‘Now, he has this opportunity to play for this great club with ambition, with targets and to put himself in this position to play for Chelsea.
‘He’s strong physically, he’s got good technique and he’s a modern footballer. He’s fast, he has stamina and he has good technique. I think he is a complete player.’