Antonio Conte declares that Nemanja Matic is not for sale
New Chelsea manager claims the Serbian midfielder is an important part of his plans for the upcoming season
New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has staved off Juventus interest in midfielder Nemanja Matic by stating that he is not for sale. Instead, he expects the Serb to develop into one of the top players in the world under his tutelage. Juventus have expressed interest in Matic since they might have to consider a replacement for the big money move of Paul Pogba.
"He is not for sale and I know with work he can become a fantastic midfielder, one of the best in the world," Conte said in a news conference ahead of Chelsea's game against Liverpool in the International Champions Cup.
Antonio Conte dismissed fears that Matic could fall down the pecking order after Chelsea prised in-form French defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante away from Leicester City. In addition, the manager quickly drew the bigger picture, of returning Chelsea to the top charts which would require him to have adequate replacements.
Conte continued, "He is a very important player for me, he is very important in my idea of football. He knows this and I'm delighted by his attitude and behaviour and I see in his commitment.
"Also, Kante was a target for Chelsea, my target, Chelsea's target. It's important that we close these operations.
"Now we are waiting for the right situation to improve our team but it's important now to work very hard to try to play an attractive football with high intensity. Now it's important to work, then in the future, we'll see."
Furthermore, Conte went on explaining the course of his plans in order to rebuild the team. Describing his ideas, he said, "In my mind, there is an idea about what system we'll play. We are working about this idea. It's important for the coach when you arrive to understand the players and to understand every single player's strength and their weakness. It's important for me to exalt my players in their strengths and to try and cover their weakness, no?
"It's important to understand this and also it's important to have principles of the play and then you must build, create a good team with a good idea of football.
"I adapt my idea of football to my players, not adapt my players in my idea of football," he said. "It's important because there are others players that must play. The players are the most important things in football. I adapt my idea within my players."
It seems that Juve will have to look elsewhere for a midfielder, while Chelsea will be expecting Matic to play a key role in their quest to regain the EPL crown.