Antonio Conte says Michy Batshuayi is in contention to play for Chelsea tomorrow evening, despite the Belgian striker being heavily linked with an exit from the club.
The Blues take on Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with the game ending just over an hour before the January transfer deadline.
The timing is dreadful, with Chelsea active in the transfer market. They are understood to be keen to bring in a new forward as back-up to Alvaro Morata, which if achieved would lead to the sanctioning of Batshuayi’s departure.
But short of options in attack due to injuries to Morata and Willian, Conte is still relying on Batshuayi.
‘Yeah, he is in contention for tomorrow’s game,’ Conte said. ‘I don’t know [about him joining Borussia Dortmund] but now he is a Chelsea player and in contention for tomorrow’s game. I have [Alvaro] Morata injured and don’t have other options, with Willian injured.’
It’s possible that by the time tomorrow’s game kicks off, Batshuayi could already have left. If he is to join Dortmund it must be done before 5pm on Wednesday, which is the deadline in Germany.
Others are looking to the deal, with Dortmund unwilling to sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal unless they find a replacement.
Conte says that the game with Bournemouth clashing with the close of the transfer window is far from ideal.
‘Yeah, for sure this is not the best situation to prepare a league game for Bournemouth. There are these types of situation but you have to face it. For sure, it hasn’t been easy to prepare the game in this way.’
More: Chelsea FC
Chelsea are being linked with deals for Olivier Giroud and Fernando Llorente, but Conte refused to discuss either in his press conference. He did however admit he’ll be pleased to see the window close.
Asked if the transfer window had been frustrating, he said: ‘Frustrated? No, but annoyed because you have to have a press conference every three days, to always have the same questions. If our target is this or another, if the relationship is good or not. It is natural for you, to have the same questions is a bit frustrated. I am joking though.’