Conte won't sell Begovic unless replacement is found
The Blues boss is prepared to let the Bosnian move on in search of more regular football, but only once suitable cover arrives at Stamford Bridge
Antonio Conte says Chelsea will only sell Asmir Begovic if a replacement goalkeeper can be found.
Begovic has been heavily linked with a move to Bournemouth but, with the transfer window closing in just four days, the 29-year-old’s future remains unclear.
Chelsea were said to be lining up Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon to replace Begovic but Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers stated this week that the Scottish champions had no intention of selling.
‘Conte showing how exceptional he is’
And Conte, who will start Begovic in Saturday’s FA Cup clash at home to Brentford, expects him to stay unless a new keeper is brought in.
“Yes, Begovic will start. Begovic is a Chelsea player, it is important to understand this,” he told a news conference. “And Begovic for me will stay.
“I understand all the players but I think it’s important also for the player to understand me and the club. Now it is very difficult because not one club is able to sell you a good player.
“We are open to help him if there is the opportunity to replace him in the best way. If it is not possible then Begovic will stay with us.
“At the end of the season we will evaluate the situation in the best way.
“I don’t know about a lot of names that I read. For sure there is this situation and Bournemouth asked about him but he is Chelsea’s player and I am very happy for him to stay in the squad, His commitment, his behaviour outside of the pitch. He is very important in the changing room.
Ivanovic has ‘several offers’
“Only if we can have a good substitution can he go.”
Defender Branislav Ivanovic is another to be linked with a move but Conte would not be drawn on his future.
“I don’t know,” he said. “For sure this is a particular month because there is this window. There are a lot of speculations. There are a lot of lies but there is also truth in some situations.
“I don’t know what will happen at the end of this window. The club knows my thoughts about this. If we stay with these players, I am very happy too.
“I think that we have to improve our squad in [terms of] the number of players because in some roles we are short with a few players. If that happens I am very happy. If it doesn’t happen we will continue in this way.”
Conte added that further signings for Chelsea are unlikely at this stage of the window and says that Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah will stay for the rest of the season.
Ivanovic going, Terry next?
He could not, however, confirm whether Kenedy or Charly Musonda will be allowed out on loan.
“I’ve read a lot of good names in the newspaper, yes. I think that sometimes you know more than me about this!” he said.
“I have confidence in my players. I don’t know if we will sign new players I must be honest.
“For sure, if Kenedy and Musonda play only one second they must stay with us for the rest of the season. The players know this, the club and me know this.
“But I think that they are two young players with good prospects.
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“They have a good will to fight and to try to improve and work. If we take this decision to stay here I think that the players will be very happy and the club and I the same.
“For this season, Ruben and Chalobah, for sure they continue to stay with us for the rest of the season.
“We will continue in this way to try to develop our players, like Musonda, Kenedy and [Nathan] Ake.”