Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has moved to dismiss rumours of a rift between him and the club’s defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic by confirming that he’s an important player for the future.
The Italian, who arrived as Chelsea’s first permanent head coach since self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ José Mourinho was sacked by Roman Abramovich last December, has denied that there is any problem with the Serbian. The 28-year-old has been linked with a move to Juventus in the wake of Conte’s former club sanctioning the sale of Paul Pogba back to Manchester United.
However Conte is adamant that the player is going nowhere and that there’s no problem between the pair. Speaking in his press conference ahead of Chelsea’s first Premier League match under his watch the former Italy national manager said, “Nemanja is an important player for me, and he knows this. There isn’t a problem with him – Nemanja was a Chelsea player and is a Chelsea player”.
Conte also made the point that he’s in touch with all of his Chelsea players, not just the Serbian, to ensure that they’re all happy with life in West London. He said, “I speak a lot with my players, all my players. Usually when you arrive at a new club it’s important to get to know the players, all the aspects”.
The Italian wants to pick their brains to see if they can explain why last season went so wrong for the Blues. They finished in tenth position in the league and failed to get to the final of any of the cup competitions, something that hadn’t happened in recent years. He said, “It’s important to speak with all the players, to understand, to listen, why the last season was so bad. Because for the coach, for the first time arriving it’s important to go inside, into the head of the players to understand and solve the situation”.
The Italian’s first taste of league football in England will come on Monday night when West Ham arrive at Stamford Bridge for the London derby. Conte believes that keeping hold of players like Matic is vital at a time when the transfer fees have become so excessive. The Blues have already paid over £60 million on the signings of N’Golo Kante from Chelsea and Michy Batshuayi from Marseille, but it’s not easy to make all of the signings that the former Juventus manager would like to make.
Conte said, “For all the clubs, it’s a crazy transfer market. Not for Chelsea, in general. This market is a bit crazy, because when you try to buy one or another player, the cost is very, very expensive, and not the real valuation of the player. And it’s a very strange situation. But now we are waiting for the right solution for the club”.