Conte admits he is hoping to add new faces to his Chelsea squad in January
but insists the club will only buy if the right players become available.
On Friday, John Obi Mikel has announced he is leaving Chelsea to join
Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA after ten and a half years at
The Nigerian international follows Oscar to China, after he joined Shanghai
SIPG in a £60m deal, while Dutch international Marco van Ginkel has also
joined PSV Eindhoven on loan.
Those departures lessen Conte's options in midfield but the Italian
confirmed the club are in the market for new players.
Conte explained: "In January it is always difficult to buy great players
because the other teams don't want to sell. To buy only to buy, I don't
"Not closer, but we have some ideas about this. We are working around these
One area where Conte will not be looking to add to his squad is in central
defence where Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill have established
themselves as his first-choice back three.
France international Kurt Zouma is fit once again following a long-term knee
injury while club captain John Terry is also available after an
Conte confirmed in his weekly press conference on Friday that Both Zouma and
Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi will start Sunday's FA Cup third round clash
"I give a good opportunity in this game to see Michy from the start, this is
important," Conte said. "Diego [Costa] has done very well, playing a lot,
and I didn't take final decision because there is also tomorrow, but I think
for Michy it could be a good opportunity to show me his progress."
Conte also took the time to pay tribute to Mikel, who leaves Chelsea after
making more than 300 appearances since joining the club in 2006 from
Norwegian side Lyn Oslo.
"It is important to say thanks to Obi for this period that he worked with
me," Conte said. "He showed great attitude, great behaviours, I wish for him
and his family the best.
"Obi played many years with this club, won a lot, and I think he was a
really important player but I think he wants to find a new experience. I
wish him the best."