West London Sport

Conte: Blues need at least three strikers

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Boss Antonio Conte says he needs at least three players to be able to play as a main striker while Chelsea are involved in three competitions.

Michy Batshuayi scored twice while filling in for injured first-choice forward Alvaro Morata in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

But the 24-year-old Belgian has been strongly linked with a move away during the January transfer window and has often been overlooked for Eden Hazard, who has played as a makeshift centre-forward in big matches when Morata has been unavailable.

“I don’t know what happens [in the transfer market],” Conte said. “But when you have to play league, Champions League and FA Cup, if we have three strikers, I think that is the minimum.

“If you see our squad, we don’t have three, four or five strikers; we have two strikers, Morata and Batshuayi.

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“There is always Hazard. He is a different striker but he can play in this way. We played in the past in this way.”

The transfer window closes on Wednesday and Chelsea have been tipped to sign Roma forward Edin Dzeko.

Conte added: “We have to see what happens during the transfer market. We are talking about another player. It doesn’t mean if we take another player Michy has to go on loan, because we have a lot of competitions.

“If the club decides to add another player and then Michy wants to stay or go on loan, it’s the player’s decision not my decision. But I don’t know what happens in the transfer market.