Conte in the dark regarding Chelsea’s January transfer plans

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The Blues are expected to strengthen again when the window re-opens, but their manager has suggested that he is unaware of what moves will be made

Antonio Conte claims to be unaware of what the January transfer window will hold for defending Premier League champions Chelsea.

The Blues are expected to strengthen again in the new year, with a lack of depth within their ranks exposed during the current campaign.

Being free of European commitments in 2016-17 allowed Conte to focus all of his efforts on a successful title bid, but greater rotation is required this year with Champions League football back on the agenda.

Chelsea have progressed to the last 16 of that competition, but they have already conceded defeat in the defence of their English top-flight crown and it now remains to be seen what approach they take to further recruitment.

"I don’t know what will happen in January," Conte told reporters when pressed on his plans. "January now is far.

"In December we have to play a lot of games. In January it’s the same. I don’t know, I don’t know because in January you have to wait for the right time to adapt them [new players] in our idea of football.

"Now we have to face this solution with these players. We have to be ready to fight. We have to be ready to face this situation with the right desire.

Antonio Conte

"I don’t like to look too far, and to find solutions that at this moment are not possible. I have to be realistic, we have to face this situation with these players.

"I’m happy to play with these players. January is too far and I don’t know what will happen in January.

"I’m the coach, I can give my opinion, but the club has to take the best decision in the summer, in January, next summer. It’s normal this."

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Chelsea did invest over the summer, bringing in the likes of Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta.

There were, however, a lot of players to head for the exits as well, with Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa among those moved on.

A freshening up of the ranks has so far failed to deliver the desired results, with the Blues sat 14 points off the pace in the Premier League title race and facing a testing Champions League clash with Barcelona in the first knockout stage of Europe’s premier club competition.