Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi is in contention to start Wednesday’s English Premier League game against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge after hitting a brace in Sunday’s 3-0 FA Cup victory over Newcastle United, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed.
The much-maligned 24-year-old has scored 10 goals in 476 minutes this season, two behind joint leading scorers Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata, who is ruled out of the game.
The Belgian striker has been linked with a loan move away from Chelsea before the January transfer closes on Wednesday but Conte says the Belgian remains in his plans.
“He is in contention for tomorrow’s game. I don’t know [about speculation]. Now, he is a Chelsea player and he is in contention,” Conte said during his pre-match conference ahead of Wednesday’s game against Bournemouth.
“Against Newcastle, I decided to start with him (Batshuayi). The most important thing is the present not the future. We play every three days and it is very important to think about now.
“Morata is injured and I don’t have other options.
“In this situation, the coach has to speak with the player. It is not simple to find a solution for players to come in.
“There is only one day and it isn’t the best for me or the player. The players know the situation very well and he trained well today. I am preparing for the game with him but you don’t know what will happen today or tomorrow.”
On his team’s preparations for the Bournemouth clash, the Italian manager admitted it has been difficult.
“It is not the best situation to prepare for a game. But you must be prepared for these situations. It hasn’t been easy in this way. Luiz and Willian are out. The other players are available.
“Luiz was injured two days before the game with Newcastle. He injured his ankle and is trying to recover. He needs time.”
Conte also gave updates on Chelsea’s transfer pursuit of Edin Dezko, Oliver Giroud and Ederson Palmieri.
He explained: “Yes, Palmieri is close. The club decided to send Kenedy on loan and we had two options – to buy another player or work with a youngster. If there is news, the club will tell you. He only played in Italy last season and had a good season with Roma. He had a bad injury but he is recovering. I don’t know if he is ready to play but we are talking about a player of another team in this moment.
“I give my opinion to the club and then they try to do their best in the transfer market. I can speak about specific characteristics of players and how we can improve. But we are talking about players of other teams and must continue to have respect.
“I don’t like to speak about other players. He (Dzeko) is a Roma player and I think he will continue to be a Roma player.
On possible arrivals, Conte opted to be realistic.
“The most important thing is the reality. The reality is this. I have to prepare for the game in the right way with the right players.I will be happy in both cases – if the club decides to add players or I am happy with these players. My only hope is to finish the transfer market very soon.”
He also expressed his displeasure at having to play a game on transfer deadline day.
“It isn’t right. To have a match when there is a deadline, it is not right. You have these situations where players are half-and-half. There are many coaches that don’t like to have a game when there is the deadline.”