Antonio Conte Hoping For January Splurge At Chelsea—But Who's On His Wishlist?

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said he is happy to continue with the squad he has but will explore the possibility of bringing in players in the January transfer window to boost their challenge in multiple competitions.

The Italian had appeared underwhelmed by Chelsea's squad-strengthening earlier in the season, with the added pressure of Champions League matches stretching his resources.

Although the champions have lost once in the last 10 league games, they find themselves 14 points behind leaders Manchester City. With Chelsea keen to challenge in Europe after reaching the last 16, Conte is aware of the need to add to his squad.

"I prefer to talk with the club to try to find the best solution for the team and if there is the possibility to improve the squad under a numerical aspect it will be a good choice," Conte said ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Everton.

"But at the same time I'm enjoying these players... At this moment I'm ready to continue to play with these players because they are showing me great commitment and great behaviour. If there is the possibility to improve our squad I think the club will try to do this."

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge, London, December 20. Conte wants Chelsea to add to his squad in the January transfer window. GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty

Chelsea has long been linked with a move for Southampton center back Virgil van Dijk, as well as Juventus defender Alex Sandro. But both players are valued by their clubs in the £70 million region which has put the Chelsea board off continuing negotiations.

Monaco's Thomas Lemar is also believed to be on Chelsea's radar, but he is wanted by Liverpool and Arsenal as well and is valued at around £90 million. The position Conte is particularly keen in strengthening is striker after missing out on Fernando Llorente in the summer as the Spaniard joined Tottenham.

Conte has relied heavily on Alvaro Morata, the £60 million summer signing from Real Madrid, who has been in prolific form since joining Chelsea but has been hit by fatigue recently. Conte will be without Morata when Chelsea travel to Everton on Saturday (December 23) but due to neither fatigue or injury.

Morata is suspended after picking up a yellow card for celebrating his winning goal against Bournemouth in Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final by tucking the ball under his shirt and sucking his thumb. Morata's wife is expecting the couple's first child.

"It's a big loss for us... I must be honest, at that moment we were enjoying the goal and I didn't see the situation. I knew he celebrated with the ball under the shirt," Conte said.

"It's important to see what happened. If the referee booked him only for putting the ball under his shirt, I think it's a pity... because it's a celebration and you are showing your joy. The referee judged it in a different way."