- Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has insisted that striker Michy Batshuayi is going nowhere this season
- Michy Batshuayi has been linked with a loan move away from Stamford Bridge
- Conte's statement may yet anger the Chelsea hierarchy as tension between the Italian and his bosses lingers
Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, may risk yet another row with his Stamford Bridge bosses by insisting that he will not allow anyone to offload striker Michy Batshuayi.
The rejuvenated Belgian striker Batshuayi, who netted a brace in their FA Cup fourth-round win over Newcastle, is lined up for a loan move to Sevilla this week should Chelsea bring Edin Dzeko from Roma.
But Conte insists that offloading the Belgian might hurt his team since he is still fighting from three fronts.
The Italian gaffer said: “If you see our squad we don’t have three, four or five strikers, we have two — Morata and Batshuayi.
“I don’t know what happens. But when you play in the Premier League, Champions League and the FA Cup three strikers is the minimum.
“We have to see what happens in the market. If we are able to take another player, it doesn’t mean Michy has to go on loan.
"We have a lot of competitions. Three strikers is the minimum.
“I don’t know if Michy wants to stay or go on loan — it will be the player’s decision, not my decision.
“I’m ready to continue to work with these players. I’m very happy. But I don’t know what happens with the transfer market.”
The 24-year-old Batshuayi, has scored ten goals this season, despite making only ten starts — but he was left out of the starting line-up for last week’s Carabao Cup semi-final defeat at Arsenal.
And Conte admitted he is still not entirely satisfied with the player’s all-round play, despite his strike rate.
The Italian added: “The performance for the media depends a lot on if the striker scores.
“For me it’s important to score but at the same time it is very important the striker works well for the team. Michy in this way has improved a lot.”
Conte, who criticised his squad lack of depth after the second-leg defeat at the Emirates, was in a more conciliatory mood yesterday.
He said: “Ross Barkley arrived early and was a good signing.
“Sometimes there is not a good solution. In January, the transfer market is not so simple but the club is trying to do the best to improve the team.”
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez claimed his side were unlucky to go in 2-0 down at the break.
He said: “We did well in the first half, had chances and put them under pressure.
“We made a mistake in the counter-attack for the first goal and after the second goal we were unlucky.”
NAIJ.com previously reported that Chelsea defeated Newcastle 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, January 28, to book a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup as they returned to winning ways after their midweek exit from the Carabao cup in the hands of Arsenal.
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