January 6, 2017

Conte: Chelsea Hoping To Buy  (Sky Sports)

Antonio ConteAntonio 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 Stamford Bridge.

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 like.

"Not closer, but we have some ideas about this. We are working around these ideas."

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 injury-disrupted season.

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 with Peterborough.

"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."

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