Chelsea: Courtois replacement identified; Batshuayi could start; Oscar gives thanks
After revelations that Thibaut Courtois may move to Real Madrid in the summer with their transfer ban reduced and the Belgian desperate to make the transfer, Antonio Conte is believed to have made a shortlist of top targets to replace him, with Joe Hart the first choice, say the Express.
Hart is doing well on loan at Torino in Serie A and is said to be available for around £10 million with wages of £120,000 per week, both realistically achievable for the Blues, meaning the only possible obstacles would be interest from Liverpool and persuading Manchester City to allow Hart to join one of their rivals.
Another man linked with an exit is summer signing Michy Batshuayi, but the 23-year-old could be in line for his first start of the Premier League season against Bournemouth today, revealed Antonio Conte:
“Michy’s attitude, his behaviour, have been fantastic. He wants to improve his quality. Technical quality, physical quality, and we are working a lot with him on tactical aspects. He’s showing great commitment, great work-rate during the training sessions, great passion. For sure he wants to play and it’s not easy when you have Diego Costa in front of you… I’m sure his moment will arrive. If I decide to put Michy in the starting XI, it is because he is ready to play.”
Diego Costa’s fifth yellow card of the season and consequent suspension has opened the path to allow Batshuayi to start though it seems that Conte may still be reluctant to give him that valuable full debut in the Premier League.
One man who couldn’t convince Conte of his suitability was Brazilian Oscar, who has sent a heartfelt message of thanks to the club and its fans after completing a move to Shanghai SIPG, in which he said:
“I want to thank Chelsea, the owner and all the employees who have made my time at the club so special. A very special thank you to the Chelsea fans you guys are very special and I am honoured to have been a part of your club. We have won some special titles together. The UEFA Europa League, the League Cup and of course Premier League Champions!!! You will always have a special place in my heart.”
Now reunited with former Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas, the club can be happy to have received £52 million for a back-up option for the team.
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