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Chelsea: Star man denies speculation; winger praised; loanee continues to shine

After a whole host of rumours were sparked by Thibaut Courtois’ recent claims that he plans to return to La Liga in Spain at some point in his career, with a return to Atlético Madrid or their city rivals Real Madrid rumoured, the Belgian has spoken out to deny speculation linking him with an imminent move. He told the Mirror:

I understand the commotion with the Chelsea fans. But I just meant that I want to return to Spain one day but it can also be after my career. I’m happy to be at Chelsea. For how long, we will see. But now I want to win prizes with this club.

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The young goalkeeper has come in for criticism for his performances in the opening months of the Premier League season, particularly as he has recorded one of the worst shot to goal ratios of any goalkeeper in the top flight. However, there is no doubting that Courtois has great potential and could go on to become one of the best ‘keepers in the world if he lives up to hopes and expectations for his development.

Antonio Conte has been full of praise for one man though, and that may come in an unexpected way as Victor Moses has received the praise of his new Italian manager, claim the Guardian. Conte praised his flexibility and believed that he could be the solution he requires as a wing-back in his preferred system, saying:

For me, Moses played an incredible game in a defensive situation and offensive situation. It’s fantastic because he’s working very hard and that’s why he deserved to play. He showed me that my choice was right. If he can play this way it’s fantastic. I also think Pedro can play in this way. To have wingers able to do this role is a great option. Alonso played there often for Fiorentina. Like all the players, he must work.

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It seems that he could have a long term future there too as Conte plans to implement the system regularly after it proved effective against Hull City on Saturday, saying:

In the past we played with four, but the facts speak. When you concede many goals and you are not compact the manager and players must find a solution. For this reason it’s important to go the other way. Now we have another solution and tactical system. We can play with three at the back or four, it depends on the game but I think this is a good way.

The Nigeria winger was expected to be one of the first headed out of Stamford Bridge this summer, but may now have found a role for himself at the club.

Another player hoping to force his way into the Chelsea starting line-up is young forward Tammy Abraham as the 19-year-old spoke of his desire to play for the Blues first team next season, as he scored yet again for Bristol City this weekend. The 6ft3 forward told the Evening Standard:

I want to fight for the play-offs. It would be nice to be highest scorer in the Championship. Wherever it takes me, it takes me. If you are giving your all and it works out then yes, why not [fight for a first-team place at Chelsea]?

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The loanee has scored 11 goals in 14 games in all competitions to date and will now join up with the England under-21s squad for the first time having previously scored five times in 14 games for the under 19s squad, a record which may tip him for greatness in the Chelsea ranks.

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