Chelsea: Midfielder responds to approach; West Ham want four; youngster could return
Antonio Conte is set to be disappointed in his ongoing pursuit of Zenit St. Petersburg’s Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel according to Tuttosporto as the 27-year-old prepares to turn down the opportunity to join Chelsea having previously agreed a deal to join Juventus when his deal expires in the summer.
The Italian source claim that Conte was hoping to sign him to replace Oscar in the Blues midfield despite him usually playing in a deeper role, but Witsel is not prepared to go back on his word with Conte’s former club.
The Daily Mail believe that West Ham have approached the Blues with enquiries about four different Chelsea players; Asmir Begovic, Cesc Fabregas, Reuben Loftus-Cheek and Michy Batshuayi. Slaven Bilic is said to be considering loan and permanent moves for all four to help his team climb up the Premier League table.
Of the quartet, all are on the fringes of the Chelsea squad with Fabregas the only one to have featured prominently for the first team and even his role has been limited, so it could represent an opportunity for Antonio Conte to cut some deadwood from his squad.
One youngster who is currently out on loan is defender Nathan Ake, and his loan manager Eddie Howe has spoken to praise his performances at Bournemouth but also revealing that he could return to Chelsea in January as he said:
“I thought Nathan Ake was excellent again. There is a release clause there where Chelsea can recall him. But we would hope the fact he’s playing and playing well would mean he’d stay. But we’ll wait and see. If you take away his goal he defended really well, he used the ball well and he got into some good positions, it’s a positive from today.”
Ake had struggled to earn game time at the club but has now broken into the team and made his spot his own, scoring three goals and adding a number of impressive displays.
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