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Conte wants three strikers before close of window transfer

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Chelsea’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte applauds after winning the English Premier League football match between Huddersfield Town and Chelsea at the John Smith’s stadium in Huddersfield, northern England on December 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF

Antonio Conte wants Chelsea to sign an additional striker before the January transfer window closes on Wednesday.

With Alvaro Morata out of form, the Blues have been linked with a string of strikers, including Roma’s Edin Dzeko, Andy Carroll of West Ham and even Burnley’s Ashley Barnes.

Michy Batshuayi struck a brace as Chelsea moved into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 defeat of Newcastle United yesterday.

But despite Batshuayi taking his tally in all competitions this season to 10 – two fewer than Morata – Conte still wants another forward to arrive at Stamford Bridge.

“If you see our squad, we don’t have three, four or five strikers, we have two,” said Conte.

“Morata is out, or sometimes I play with [Eden] Hazard. He is a different striker, but sometimes I play in this way. The striker has to work for the team in the best way, he has improved a lot in this way.

“I don’t know what will happen [with Batshuayi], but when you have to play in the Champions League and FA Cup, three strikers is the minimum. Then we have to see what will happen in the transfer market. We are talking about another player, I don’t know if we can.”

Although Batshuayi provided a pair of first-half goals, Conte held back on praising the Belgian forward.

“I don’t know if it was his best game, but it was important for him and the team,” said the Italian. “To score is important for the confidence, we are talking about a young player with a great potential.

“Today I showed that for me the most important thing is the present, not the future. Otherwise I would have taken other choices.

“Michy, we are talking about a player I have worked with for one year and a half, a powerful player and has a lot of room for improvement. My task is to work with him and every single player.


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