Conte wants 5 summer buys for Blues

Antonio Conte is likely to join Chelsea on a three-year deal and has been analysing the squad.
Antonio Conte is likely to join Chelsea on a three-year deal and has been analysing the squad.

LONDON • Antonio Conte will ask Roman Abramovich for the funds to sign five new players when he joins English Premier League football club Chelsea in the summer.

The Italy coach has spent the past few weeks analysing the London outfit's squad and believes he needs two centre-backs, a left-back, a central midfield player and another striker to get the champions back in the top four next season.

Conte has agreed the broad terms of a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge, but negotiations over the composition of his backroom staff and an indication of the club's transfer budget are required before the deal can be completed.

The Italian has agreed with Chelsea's request that he prioritise the development of young players from the club's academy, although he feels strongly that a considerable number of senior reinforcements are also needed.

Chelsea's stance is slightly different in that they are convinced that the existing squad are far better than indicated by their league position of 10th, which could lead to some difficult discussions.

Conte's room for manoeuvre may also be restricted by the limited scope for player sales this summer, with the values of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic all having dropped because of poor performances, as Chelsea's recent policy is that transfers must be self-funded.

Conte has already identified Radja Nainggolan, Miralem Pjanic and Edinson Cavani, but is open-minded about the defenders to sign.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2016, with the headline 'Conte wants 5 summer buys for Blues'. Print Edition | Subscribe