Conte gets Abramovich’s nod for January Transfer spree

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has expressed his gratitude towards club chairman Roman Abramovich and praised the Russian businessman’s passion for football.

Conte met with Chelsea chairman Abramovich recently at the club’s Surrey training base so the two could discuss progress and plan for the immediate future.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference this week Conte said: ‘I’m lucky because Mr Abramovich is very passionate about football.

Within their meeting Conte reiterated his requirements, emphasising the need to build upon the current team.

Insiders say Chelsea’s new boss feels he has inherited an outdated squad – one that won the Premier League two years ago but is incapable of reproducing that title-winning form.

Conte added: ‘To talk with him about football is very interesting. To discuss and explain my idea of football, to have a confrontation.’

The use of ‘confrontation’ was a Freudian slip. It was clarified that the Italian, whose English is very good and continually improving, meant conversation.

Despite the talk of Abramovich readying to back Conte with funds in January, the Italian refused to look ahead to the winter transfer window.

We must think about the present, because the present is now more important,’ Conte said.

‘I see in the present the opportunity to improve, to continue to work, to understand it’s not easy.

CHELSEA’S NEXT FIVE TIES

Hull City (A) – October 1

Leicester (H) – October 15

Manchester United (H) – October 23

West Ham (A) EFL Cup – October 26

Southampton (A) – October 30

‘We know this in the club. And we must continue to change the story of last season.’

Chelsea were heavily involved in the summer transfer window, spending over £120million on the acquisition of new faces, though only one of these happened to be a target on Conte’s original list.

French midfielder N’Golo Kante was the man Conte wanted in his squad, though other signings were either late buys or believed to be engineered by the club’s sporting director.

After recent league defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, Chelsea will be hoping to bounce back this weekend when they travel to Hull.

The Blues will still be without their key central defender and club captain John Terry, whose earliest possible return will be on October 15 against Leicester.

After damaging his ankle ligaments against Swansea City earlier this month Terry has missed Chelsea’s last three games, within which the Blues have conceded seven times.

Chelsea are low on options at the back, as defender Kurt Zouma continues his rehabilitation from his long-term knee injury.

Midfielder John Obi Mikel is also out with a ‘small muscular problem’, Conte confirmed.

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