Conte: Batshuayi will leave on loan if Chelsea sign a striker

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The Blues boss thinks that his Belgian striker has had his chance to impress him at Stamford Bridge and accepts he needs a loan in January

Antonio Conte has publicly admitted that Michy Batshuayi will go on loan in January should Chelsea sign a striker this month.

The Blues have been linked with multiple names during the winter window with their prime target being Roma's Edin Dzeko. 

Chelsea have also been targeting Emerson Palmieri as they look to add personnel at left-wing back. They are thought to have completed the Emerson deal but are waiting for the Dzeko situation to unfold. 

Conte had previously said that he wouldn't allow players to leave unless he signed a replacement and Kenedy was formally announced as a Newcastle United player  Tuesday with Emerson likely coming in for his spot. The Chelsea head coach admits that the same situation applies to Batshuayi. 

“It's the same as for Kenedy," Conte told reporters at Cobham Training Centre. "If another striker arrives, then Batshuayi will go on loan. I think he wants to have the opportunity to play with regularity. I think this is right.

"If we stay with the same players from the start, it doesn't change. One player goes out, one player comes in. One player comes in, one player goes out. It's part of our job [to move players on]. I think we have to try in every moment to be honest with our players.

"I repeat, I don't know if another striker will arrive for Chelsea. But, in this case, I don't want to send away any player. But a lot of times it's the player saying he prefers to go away to have the possibility to play regularly. Then you have to show you deserve to play every game.”

However, Chelsea have started Batshuayi for two consecutive games with Alvaro Morata initially rested and then getting a red card.

The 24-year-old Belgian was praised by Conte after his recent display in the 4-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion but says it doesn't mean he will start again on Wednesday night at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal. 

Pedro Batshuayi

"I don't know if this is the right time [to play him versus Arsenal]," Conte said. "I think that every player had their chance to play and to show me their value.

"Now I think I have to make the best decision for the team. Every game is different. The quality of your opponent is different. I have to make the best decision to try and exploit my players in the best way. I repeat, our job is not simple, not easy. We have to try to make the best decision every time for the team. And to try to improve our players.

"Sometimes we are able, sometimes we are not able. But you have to do your best to reach your target.”

Morata is not set to return against Arsenal due to a lingering back injury that has already seen him sit out the Huddersfield Town game in December. The £58 million striker is also out of form with no goals in six games for Chelsea.

Conte was asked whether his back is getting in the way of his main striker reaching his previous high levels of performance. 

"If you remember, in the past, he stopped himself for a problem in his back. A pain in the back," Conte said. "Now this pain has come back. I hope not serious. Nothing serious. But this is the second game that he stopped. He wasn't available against Brighton because this problem was there the day before as well [regardless of his suspension].”

“I don't know but, for sure, he's having this problem now. Now it's with the medical department to try and solve this problem and give him the opportunity to have a training session without pain. But this is the real problem now. Not that he's not scoring or that his confidence is down. For every striker, you can pass this type of moment.

Alvaro Morata Chelsea

"But the real problem now is he has to overcome this problem in his back. I hope to solve this problem very quickly because we need Alvaro. We need Alvaro's commitment.”

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Chelsea have completed one signing in January as they have brought in Ross Barkley on a £15 million deal from Everton. The 24-year-old has yet to make his debut after being ineligible against Norwich and being an unused substitute against Brighton.

Conte won't start Barkley against Arsenal as he eases him back in from a seven month hamstring lay-off that required surgery. He did say that he is ready to use the England international from the bench against Arsenal on Wednesday in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. 

“He's in the squad. I'm very happy because he's showing he's into our idea of football. It's not easy because he's only been working with us for a week, but now we're going into the idea. For sure he's on the bench. If there's the opportunity and I need to consider him and give him the chance to play, he's ready to play.”

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