Tag Archives: Antonio Conte

Chelsea completes move for Roma defender Antonio Rudiger

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Chelsea has completed the signing of Germany defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma on a five-year contract for an initial fee of £29m.

The fee for Rudiger could also rise to £33.3m through add-on clauses. He initially joined Roma on a season-long loan from Stuttgart, and will help fill the void left by John Terry’s departure for Aston Villa under freedom of contract.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who aimed to either Virgil van Dijk or Leonardo Bonucci to Stamford Bridge, was forced to switch targets due to the valuations placed on those players by Southampton and Juventus respectively.

As comparison, Rudiger, who Roma an initial £3.5m plus a further £7.9m when making his move permanent last summer, was a more distinct and attractive option as Conte seeks reinforcement upon the back line for the Premier League winners, who would also be joining the Champions League in Europe after a season-long hiatus.

Rudiger made the switch just one week after helping Germany win the FIFA Confederations Cup, and the 24-year-old said that he felt positive about his move to join the Premier League champions.

“It’s a great feeling because not every player has the opportunity to join a huge club like this,” said Rudiger. “I am looking forward to meeting up with my new team-mates and I’m very proud to officially become a Chelsea player.”

However, because he was set to take a break after his involvement in the Confederations Cup, Rudiger is unlikely to be involved when the majority of Antonio Conte’s squad return to pre-season training on Monday.

Atletico Madrid intent on signing Diego Costa despite transfer ban

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Atletico Madrid are preparing to table a first formal bid with Chelsea for forward Diego Costa despite a transfer ban that has been upheld against them.

The Madrid club is aiming to re-sign the Spanish international ahead of his scheduled return for pre-season training with the Blues at Cobham at the start of next week.

Although Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has made clear the forward is not included in his plans for the Blues going forward, Costa is still technically due to report back to the Premier League champions for their pre-season session next Monday.

The relationship between manager and player had been clearly fractured as Conte texted the Spain international to make clear he had no future at Stamford Bridge, with Costa duly making that message public, effectively weakening Chelsea’s bargaining position over the player.

Conte will also be returning to the club on Sunday, 24 hours before his squad reconvenes for standard medical checks, but he could yet be spared an awkward encounter with Costa should Atletico lodge an offer deemed acceptable for the player.

Chelsea also remains staunch on their position that they will not be forced into accepting a deal they deem dissatisfying, and will only excuse Costa’s absence on Monday if a deal has either been concluded or nearing completion.

Although there were rumours surfacing mid-week that Costa could already be on his way to Spain, no fee has been agreed upon by both clubs and the move could also potentially be complicated by Atletico being banned from signing players until January.

However, Costa’s insistence he would only leave London to return to Madrid has all but completely damaged Chelsea’s hopes of raising the £76m first mentioned when interest was expressed by Chinese Super League clubs back in January.

At present, their asking price is likely to be nearer £40m this time around and, should Atletico offer that much, a deal will be concluded swiftly.

Chelsea to step up efforts in securing transfer targets

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Chelsea will step up on their efforts to strengthen their squad with improved bids for Alex Sandro at Juventus and Tiemoue Bakayoko at Monaco.

The Blues are raising an improved bid worth up to £55m for Sandro and a fee in excess of £40m for Ligue 1 winner Bakayoko, as coach Antonio Conte was reportedly unhappy with the club’s lack of progress in securing their transfer targets.

His discontent was apparent as Conte, 47, had left a contract extension worth £9.6m a year through to 2021 — which makes also him the best paid coach in the Premier League — unsigned.

Conte, 47, who won the Premier League in his debut season with Chelsea, is seeking to augment his squad ahead of next season where his team will try to defend their title while making their return to the Champions League.

Sandro, who has earned seven caps with Brazil, stands as a potential replacement for Marcos Alonso at the left-wing back position. Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta had indicated earlier that Chelsea’s initial bid for Sandro had to been turned down last weekend, although he did not provide assurances over the player’s future with the club.

“I don’t know what he [Sandro] thinks about the interest,” Marotta said. “Players are masters of their own destinies.”

Bakayoko on the other hand represents a long-standing interest for the Blues, with the France international potentially joining Chelsea on the back of a fee in excess of £40m after winning the Ligue 1 with Monaco.

Diego Costa: striker has “no future” with Chelsea

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Diego Costa publicized a text message exchange with Antonio Conte in which the manager apparently confirmed the striker has no future with Chelsea.

Costa, 28, who is currently with the Spanish national squad after playing a significant role in helping Chelsea win the Premier League this season, has said that he will “have to find a way out” following the revelations.

“I’m going to be honest, the other day Conte sent me a message saying he does not count on me for next season,” Costa said in an interview. “so I’ll have to find a way out.”

In 2014, Costa joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid for a reported £32m after spending four seasons with the Madrid club. At present, he suggested that he might be open to a return, despite the fact that the Spanish giants were being banned from signing players until the January transfer window after a failed appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

Costa also added that the transfer ban could further complicate his circumstances, as he would face sitting out the first half of next season even if Atletico made a bid deemed acceptable to Chelsea.

“I love living in Madrid but I have to think about my future,” Costa had said. “It’s complicated because I cannot go four or five months without playing. I have no preference for a league, I just want to play.”

The relationship between Costa and Conte were reportedly strained since the pre-season tour — at the time when the Italian first took charge of the club. Costa claimed that a back injury prevented him from playing a full part in the manager’s pattern-of-play sessions, and an angry clash with a fitness coach in the wake of Tianjin first expressing interest in January testing matters further.

Costa subsequently dropped for a league game at Leicester, with Conte claiming that was because of another back complaint and opting not to criticise the player in public after Costa was filmed enjoying a post-match beer in the dressing room following a win against West Bromwich Albion the previous month.