Conte hints that Chelsea duo could be set for Stamford Bridge exit doorPublished January 29, 2017
Chelsea pair Branislav Ivanovic and Asmir Begovic could be set to leave the club before Tuesday’s deadline.
The experienced duo have been unable to break into Antonio Conte’s first-team so far this campaign, seeing the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta and Thibaut Courtois excel in their place, and the Italian has revealed that the Blues are currently contemplating whether to let them move before the close of the window.
Everton, West Brom and Zenit Saint Petersburg have all been linked with loan moves for versatile defender Ivanovic- although the Toffees’ interest is very much dependent on Phil Jagielka’s situation at Goodison Park- while Bournemouth are believed to have bid £10m for goalkeeper Begovic.
And speaking after Chelsea’s 4-0 FA Cup fourth round win over Brentford, Conte confirmed that the west Londoners were facing a difficult decision with regards to the pair’s future.
“It is difficult to make a decision but we must respect every decision for the players,” he said. “We must wait over these next three days and we will see.”
32-year-old Ivanovic, in particular, has seen his playing-time drastically reduced over the last six months, and with the Serbian moving towards the end of his career, a transfer away from Stamford Bridge is something that he is understood to be seriously considering.
“When one player has the habit to play every game and it happens that you are not playing regularly, it’s not easy to accept this decision. Ivan knows well the situation and I’m pleased if he remains here, if he stays with us,” Conte added.
“But in this situation, for sure, the player must make the best decision for him, for his family. Ivan deserves great respect for his career at Chelsea. He played a lot of games, he won a lot with this team. I think we have to respect every decision.”
With just three days left until the window slams shut, the Blues manager also admitted that while Chelsea were actively pursuing transfer targets, the process was proving to be particularly difficult.
“It’s not easy,” added Conte. “There are three days to finish this transfer window. We have some situations. We are seeing, but we are not close [to replacing Begovic].”