Antonio Conte is on collision course with Chelsea ’s money men over the club’s January transfer targets.
And the Blues boss will bluntly tell his top brass: Splash out when the window opens, or risk ending the season potless.
The Italian coach has made clear he needs reinforcements in the New Year to come to the rescue of a threadbare squad he suggests has just 17-18 senior pros.
In particular, Conte is desperate for a striker, with Chelsea’s lack of options painfully exposed at Everton, where his side dominated the game, but without suspended Alvaro Morata, embarrassingly failed to find the net.
The former Juve manager has already given up on the title, with Manchester City out of sight at the top of the Premier League, and with a daunting showdown with Barcelona waiting in the Champions’ League, he knows he needs quality additions in January.
And the Stamford Bridge boss explained he will spend the next fortnight urging his paymasters to deliver the signings he needs to give them silverware back in return.
“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.
“Then we will divide the responsibility with me and with the club…we will do it together. We are fighting for the best position in the league, for the Champions’ League and the Carabao Cup. We will see.”
Conte spent a frustrating summer desperately attempting to persuade owner Roman Abramovich and the club’s board to deliver the players he needed, but missed out on Romelu Lukaku before signing second choice Morata instead.
That even raised doubts about his own future, with the Italian making it patently clear he needs backing in the transfer market to continue to deliver the success he started with a title triumph last season.
That already looks a distant dream, but Conte will urge the club to look at targets such as Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, England star Ross Barkley and Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey.
Credit: Mirror Sport