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Antonio Conte refuses to speculate on Emerson Palmieri joining Chelsea

The Blues need cover at left-back for Marcos Alonso.

Antonio Conte has refused to confirm speculation that Chelsea are set to complete a deal for Roma defender Emerson Palmieri.

The Blues need cover at left-back for Marcos Alonso, having allowed Kenedy to join Premier League rivals Newcastle on loan until the end of the season, and have been heavily linked with a move for 23-year-old Palmieri before Wednesday’s transfer deadline.

Manager Conte admitted recruiting defensive cover was a priority but would not reveal whether a transfer was likely and suggested a youth player could be introduced to the first team instead.

“If you remember, I said in case the club decides to send on loan Kenedy, we have two options, to buy another player or to work with a young player, like (Dujon) Sterling,” said Conte

“But I don’t know (if a player will join), if there is news then the club will inform you about new players.

“I will be happy in both cases, if the club decides to add players but otherwise I’m very happy to continue to work with these players because they show me every day great behaviours, great commitment.”

Former Brazil Under-17 international Palmieri , who has since switched international allegiances to Italy, has been restricted to just two appearances in all competitions for Serie A club Roma this season following a serious knee injury.

Speaking about the full-back, Conte added: “I don’t remember Palmieri (from my time in Italy) because he played in Italy only last season.

“Last season he had an important season for Roma and then he had a bad injury, now he’s recovering, I don’t know if he’s ready to play.

“But, I repeat, we are talking about a player of another team, in this moment.”

Conte, whose side face Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day, was also coy about potential changes to Chelsea’s attacking options.

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Michy Batshuayi has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge

Belgium forward Michy Batshuayi has been linked with a transfer away from the club, while there have been rumours of moves for a number of strikers , including Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and Roma’s Edin Dzeko.

Conte said Batshuayi, who scored twice in Sunday’s FA Cup victory over Newcastle in the absence of injured team-mate Alvaro Morata, is available to face the Cherries.

“Now, he’s a Chelsea player and for this reason he is in contention for tomorrow’s game,” Conte said. “Also because I have Morata injured and I don’t have other options.”

Speaking about Dzeko, he added: “He is Roma’s player, I think that he will continue to be Roma’s player.”

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Conte does not believe a deeal for Edin Dzeko is close

Spain striker Morata remains on the sidelines due to a back problem, with Brazilian duo David Luiz and Willian joining him on the treatment table.

There has been some positive news on the injury front though as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has missed the last four games, and midfielder Cesc Fabregas are fit to face Bournemouth.

Conte suggested he was unhappy to be playing on deadline day and said he was looking forward to the window closing.

“I think for sure that it’s not the best situation to prepare a league game against Bournemouth but there are these types of situations you must be prepared to face,” he added.

“My only hope is to finish very soon this transfer market, especially because in this way you can change the questions for me.”

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