Conte dodges Sanchez talk but admits he's looking for a new Oscar, Mikel and Ivanovic

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Alexis Sanchez Arsenal
The Chelsea boss has offered his biggest hint yet that he will be dipping into the summer market after losing three experienced players in January

Antonio Conte has avoided talk regarding Chelsea's reported interest in Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, but he has admitted that the club will be looking to add over the summer after losing Branislav Ivanovic, John Obi Mikel and Oscar in January. 

The trio had accrued a combined total of 641 appearances for Chelsea, with each winning a number of major honours at Stamford Bridge before being moved on to China and Russia.

Sanchez, meanwhile, has recently said how happy he is in London and that he wants to play for a team with "a winning mentality". Conte refused to be drawn on speculation suggesting that he could open a door to the Chilean, preferring instead to focus a London derby for his side with Crystal Palace on Saturday.

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The Italian said: “I think it's very disrespectful of players from other teams. For sure, he's a top player. I can say this. But I don't like to talk about players from other teams because it's disrespectful for the players of other teams, other clubs and my own players.

“Now I think we are doing very well. Every single player this season has given me 120%. It's great, this. But, for sure, when the moment arrives to talk about next season, for sure together with the club we will try and find the right solutions to improve. To be stronger than this season.”

Antonio Conte Chelsea Burnley 12022016

Conte did reveal that Chelsea are looking for new players ahead of the summer transfer market, as he looks to bolster his squad with European competition almost certain next season. 

"Obi Mikel, who went away. Ivanovic, who went away. Oscar, who went away. [These are] players who won a lot with this club," he added. "They were top players. When you change, it means there is a transition.

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"We have to find new players and build with these players over many ways in the same way we did with Ivanovic, Mikel and Oscar. For us the most important thing is for us to try and finish this league and try to win.

"Then, once this season is finished, with the club together we will talk about the right way to try and improve our team and our squad. That will be very important, but I don't see any problems about this. This club has great ambitions. It was so in the past, and it will be so in the future. I'm very happy to be coach of this club.”

John Obi Mikel

Chelsea's squad may be tested for the first time this season with a number of players doubtful to face Palace after the international break. Eden Hazard and John Terry appear to be fit but Victor Moses and Diego Costa may miss out. Thibaut Courtois has been struggling with a hip injury but is likely to continue in goal for the table-topping Blues.