Antonio Conte was not happy with one of Chelsea’s signings this summer [Castles]

Antonio Conte can’t have expected to embark on such a frustrating summer after winning the Premier League in May.

Chelsea may have spent over £180million, but the Italian missed out on a number of key targets and will also have to deal with Diego Costa’s continued presence at Cobham.

Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, and Fernando Llorente all rejected the chance to join the champions.

The thing that irked the Blues’ boss the most, however, was the sale of Nemanja Matic, who joined Manchester United in a £40million deal in July.

The Serbian international seemed to have been sold above the manager’s head, with Conte telling a press conference:

“Sometimes you must accept different decisions. But he is a great loss for us.”

Even if the 28-year-old had been a little inconsistent in the two seasons leading up to his departure, it still came as a surprise to many when Roman Abramovich allowed him to join a title rival.

Conte has filled the hole left in the squad by firstly bringing in Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco and following that up with the addition of Danny Drinkwater on Deadline Day.

The former Leicester man’s arrival has divided opinion as while he does have title-winning experience, he’s probably not the most glamorous midfielder in the world and wasn’t deemed good enough for United when he left in 2012.


Journalist Duncan Castles has now confirmed what we all suspected: that Conte didn’t really want the England international, and he doesn’t think he’s the same level of player as Matic.

“He’s not the player Conte wants as a second midfielder. Conte’s position was that he would be happy to accept Matic being sold but he would want to get two replacements – Bakayoko which he got and a player of similar quality.

“Conte won’t be provided with the replacement he wants, which is what Chelsea are doing across the entirety of the team.”

What’s even more infuriating is that Matic has had a big impact at Old Trafford since reuniting with Jose Mourinho.

You’d think after seeing Chelsea cruise to the title last season, Abramovich would let Conte have a free rein when it comes to transfers. Apparently not.

More Breaking News:

Alvaro Morata mocks Premier League defenders despite slow start

Alvaro Morata may have struggled in the Premier League so far, but according to the forward, strikers in the Premier League are tactically inept – and eventually he will benefit from that.

He told El Pais:“Tactically Chelsea are Italian, you have to conform to a system. The striker has to be a reference point for his teammates.

“You need to fight with the centre-backs and they’re much stronger physically than in any other country.

“It’s true that they’re sloppy tactically and they give you chances because they slip up, but it’s a different kind of football.

“In Spain you have time to think and hold on to the ball. Here if you hold the ball you’ll already have been given two kicks.”

Morata has been told by his own manager that he needs to get used to the Premier League – and get used to the physicality – but there is no doubt the forward is a goalscorer – he showed it for Spain again during the international break – and has got off the mark for Chelsea – yet the chances missed, especially in the game against Tottenham Hotspur have landed him with a fair bit of criticism.

Costa return?
One issue Chelsea do have is the future of Diego Costa, who is currently on strike in Brazil with the club looking to take legal action and the player himself also threatening to sue.

Given Conte’s obvious dislike of Costa and claims he did not want him back in his squad, should Costa return to the club and even be in contention for the first team, it would mark a sensational comeback for the player, and certainly put Conte in a difficult position and once again put him at odds with the board and have more speculation over his future.

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