Antonio Conte has reportedly warned Chelsea‘s chiefs that the season will end in disappointment if they fail to bolster his squad during the January transfer window.
And the Italian boss has identified three players he wants the club to sign next month as he puts plans in place to avoid another frustrating window, according to the Daily Mirror.
Missing out on a number of targets – including Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley – Conte was left underwhelmed by Chelsea’s transfer activity last summer.
Having stormed to the title in his debut season in England, Conte has found success harder to come by this term, with Chelsea third midway through the campaign.
The former Italy boss has given up hope of catching rampant league leaders Manchester City, who are 13 points clear of their nearest rival, and Chelsea’s Champions League hopes rest on beating Barcelona in the next round.
With the January window opening next week, Conte is putting pressure on the board to secure signings, with attacking players firmly in his mind after Chelsea failed to breakdown Everton last week without the help of Alvaro Morata.
The Mirror say Conte has urged Chelsea to look to move for Monaco and France midfielder Thomas Lemar, Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey and Everton’s Barkley.
Lemar is being linked with a host of Premier League clubs while Arsenal are said to have identified Bailey as a potential replacement for Alexis Sanchez, who appears destined to join Manchester City.
Barkley, meanwhile, has not played a single minute for Everton this season due to injury but was close to joining reigning champions Chelsea on deadline day last summer.
Speaking about Chelsea’s plans for January last week, Conte said: ‘It is not the right time now to talk about who we will sign and I don’t want to have this conversation in public.
‘I am very happy to work with my players, and then if the squad is big enough to play all these games in all competitions, only time will tell.
‘I think this consideration must be done with the club. I must say it to them in the right moment, in the right place.
‘I will give my opinion when I speak with the club, I will tell them. But in the end the club has always the last word – like in the summer, like last season, and it will be the same in January.’