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Antonio Conte Reveals Two Transfers He Regrets Failing To Make At Chelsea

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Antonio Conte Reveals Two Transfers He Regrets Failing To Make At Chelsea

Antonio Conte revealed he missed out on two huge signings that he wanted whilst manager of Chelsea and the Premier League would have been a very different place if he'd got them.

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Conte surprised everyone when he took Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in England in 2017, beating second place Tottenham Hotspur by seven points.

Things unravelled quite quickly at Stamford Bridge for the former Juventus boss, with arguments about transfers, a falling out with Diego Costa and a fifth place finish in his second season leading to his sacking.

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The Italian has now revealed that he missed out on two big transfers at the end of the first season, which would have changed his fortunes, and the fortunes of other teams too,

"I asked for two players and we were very, very close after we won the league," he told the Telegraph.

"One player was Romelu Lukaku, the second player was Virgil van Dijk, and these two players were very, very close.

Conte and Lukaku now work together with Inter. Image: PA Images
Conte and Lukaku now work together with Inter. Image: PA Images
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"We were in contact every day and I always said that with these two players we would improve my team by 30 per cent.

"I think maybe we lost the momentum to bring Chelsea at the very top and then to stay for many years.

"It was a pity that it didn't happen and Romelu is showing with Inter that my idea was right and also Van Dijk has shown with Liverpool that my idea was right for the club."

Van Dijk was still at Southampton at the time. Image: PA Images
Van Dijk was still at Southampton at the time. Image: PA Images
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Lukaku was at Everton at the time and he did look set to return to Stamford Bridge, with Conte's interest in the Belgian well known.

At the set time it looked like Jose Mourinho, then Manchester United boss, would sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid.

Instead Lukaku went to Old Trafford and Morata moved to west London. Neither had as much success as would have been hoped and Conte believes he'd have got more out of Lukaku, who he now manages at Inter, adding, "For sure, it would have been a different story if I was the coach of Romelu.

"Romelu is an incredible player and he has a lot of space for improvement. In one year at Inter, he had a lot of improvement because he wants to learn and I think I am a teacher.

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"But he can continue to improve to become one of the best strikers in the world."

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Van Dijk was still at Southampton but was strongly linked with a move to Liverpool that summer, despite Conte's interest.

In the end the Dutch defender moved to Anfield the following January for £75 million, then a world record for a defender, whilst the Blues signed Antonio Rudiger from Chelsea for £31.5 million.

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Who knows what would have happened if Conte had got his transfer targets.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Chelsea, Serie A, Transfer stories, Transfer rumours, Premier League, Transfer gossip, Romelu Lukaku, Virgil Van Dijk, Transfer news, Inter, Antonio Conte

Ryan Sidle
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