Chelsea: Conte dig at Mourinho; boost in midfielder pursuit; youngster dismisses return talk
Antonio Conte has appeared to hit out at Jose Mourinho in a dig as he praised the resurgence of wing back Victor Moses under his tutelage as he told Gazetta dello Sport:
“I could see his potential from the first days of the summer training camp. Moses has important qualities: technique, physical strength, the ability to cover 70 metres of the pitch. I find it incredible that someone like him has been underestimated.”
The Nigerian has started the last six Premier League games for the Blues and been involved in all but one league game in which Conte has been in charge as the former Wigan man proves his doubters wrong and becomes a key part of Conte’s system.
One of the Blues main summer transfer targets was Radja Nainggolan, the combative midfielder who was subject to three bids worth over £35 million before Roma turned them all down and secured their asset on a new deal until 2020. However, the door for a move to Chelsea could have re-opened after a touchline spat with manager Luciano Spalleti after he was substituted with four minutes left on the clock against Atlanta at the weekend, when his side conceded a match deciding penalty.
The club are now monitoring the 28-year-old’s situation as they hope to be able to come back in for the central midfielder with a new offer to take him to London from Italy.
However, another midfielder has ruled out a move to London as Chelsea youth product Nathan Ake has declared himself happy at Bournemouth and dismissed talk of a Stamford Bridge return, saying:
“I don’t know where that [Chelsea story] comes from. It came from nothing. I ignore it and focus on what I have to do in training – and focus on Bournemouth. This is the feeling you want after games you’ve played. You win and go home on the coach feeling happy. That’s what I’ve missed and now it’s back so I’m delighted.”
The 21-year-old defender had played just 13 Premier League minutes across two games before last weekend, leading to speculation that the Blues may recall him as they grow frustrated by Eddie Howe’s reluctance to play the Dutchman, but he may now have turned a corner as he scored the decisive goal in his first 90 minutes of the season against Stoke on Saturday.
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