Conte rules out Hazard to Barcelona as Neymar replacement
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists Eden Hazard is not for sale amid rumours of interest from Barcelona.
The La Liga giants are reeling after losing star attacker Neymar, with the Brazil international having agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of €222 million.
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The sudden departure of Neymar so close to the start of the 2017-18 campaign leaves Barcelona in a difficult scramble to replace him, but the Catalan club are now flush with cash.
Rumours have placed them with numerous players, including Philippe Coutinho, Kylian Mbappe and now Hazard, who has been linked with a big move to La Liga in the past.
However, Conte insists the Belgian star, who will miss this weekend’s Community Shield clash with Arsenal, is not for sale while also confirming the Blues remain in the market for additions.
"We are trying to buy the players, not to sell," Conte told reporters. "Otherwise the number is always less and we are in trouble. I think these are rumours and Eden is very happy to stay with us, to play with Chelsea and to recover from his injury and to start the season with us."
Conte declined to specify who or how many players Chelsea are looking to add before the transfer window closes in just under a month, but said the club has been informed of his wishes.
"It's important for me that the club knows my opinions about the number that we need. I think it's not right to tell this through the press.
"The most important thing is the club knows my opinions and they are trying to do the best for our team, for our squad. Now we have to wait. We must have patience and then to try to improve our team, our squad."
After the Community Shield, the reigning Premier League champions kick off their title defence on August 12 at Stamford Bridge against Burnley.
In addition to the Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup, the Blues also return to the Champions League this season after a year away, increasing the need for depth in the squad.