Chelsea Eye New Striker as Antonio Conte Fears Consequences of Summer Recruitment
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is reportedly fearing that his concerns over failing to address a lack of squad depth during the summer could soon cause selection headaches as injuries begin to mount up in the Stamford Bridge dressing room.
Victor Moses was the latest casualty at the weekend, joining N’Golo Kante, Alvaro Morata and Danny Drinkwater on the sidelines.
Morata, who was nursing a hamstring problem prior to the October international break, has been tipped to return to action in the Champions League this week, but general depth is a real worry.
It was regularly reported during that summer that Conte was growing increasingly frustrated over a lack of quality buys. Now, according to the Daily Telegraph, the Italian is worried about the potential ‘consequences’ of the disappointing recruitment.
Chelsea were fortunate last season in having a relatively clear fixture schedule and suffering hardly any injuries, but this season is already panning out quite differently.
It is suggested that playing extra games in the Champions League is the likely reason for the sudden flurry of hamstring injuries. That will give Conte a serious problem if he feels his squad as a whole isn’t good enough to cope with the increased demands.
Conte still doesn’t seem to have any faith in back-up striker Michy Batshuayi, who lasted only 57 minutes in place of the injured Morata against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The young Belgian hardly got a look in last season until scoring the goal that actually sealed the Premier League title and hasn’t really been given the opportunity to kick on this season either.
Morata has been in fine form when fit, but the Telegraph notes that a new striker is already seen as a January priority for Conte, who saw top target Fernando Llorente join Tottenham in summer instead – the Spaniard would arguably have been the perfect back-up or impact substitute.
Injured Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke is said to be of some interest to Conte. The inexperienced and relatively unknown Red Star Belgrade forward Richmond Boakye is another.