Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said that he wants Michy Batshuayi to stay at least for the remainder of the season even if the Blues manage to add another striker before the January transfer window slams shut. However, at the same time, the Italian has suggested that if the player himself wants to leave, it will be the Belgian’s decision.
With 2018 being the World Cup year, Batshuayi will look to get more first-team opportunities, at least more than what he is getting with Chelsea, hence a loan deal is touted to be the best option. To add to it, Chelsea’s interest in the likes of Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch, Edin Dzeko and Ashley Barnes suggests that Conte doesn’t rate him high and this is where his exit rumours have gathered pace.
Chelsea, yesterday, were up against Newcastle United in the fourth round of the FA Cup and Batshuayi – who scored the winner for Chelsea against Atletico Madrid – scored a brilliant brace to book Chelsea’s place in the fifth round of the tournament. As far as the 24-year-old’s move is concerned, he is already being linked with Sevilla, while at the same time, a potential swap deal with West Ham United – including Andy Carroll – was thought to be on the cards. To add to it, Borussia Dortmund are credited with an interest as well.
Antonio Conte, however, has said that he would like to keep Batshuayi at least until the end of the season even if the hierarchy manages to bring a new number 9, as he wants three options for the striking position for the current season.
“If you see our squad, we don’t have three, four or five strikers, we have two, and Hazard who is a different striker who can play in this way,” the Chelsea boss said in the press conference following the win over Newcastle.
“For the press, it depends a lot if the striker scores or doesn’t score. For me, it’s important to score, but at the same time, it’s important the striker has to work very well for the team. In this way, Michy has improved a lot, and then the club will make the best decision,
“When you have to play the league, the Champions League and then the FA Cup, three strikers is the minimum. Then we have to see what will happen during the transfer market. I don’t know if we will be able to get another player, but if we do, it doesn’t mean Michy has to go on loan. We have a lot of competition.
“If the club decides to add another player, I don’t know if Michy wants to stay or wants to go on loan. In this case it will be the player’s decision, not my decision, because I am ready to continue working with these players because I am very happy with them.”
The Belgium international has scored 10 goals this season despite playing as the second fiddle to Alvaro Morata.