Chelsea Already Has Double Transfer Swoop Lined Up For January

Chelsea is already preparing to make bids for Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke and Everton’s Ross Barkley in the January transfer window, according to reports.

Antonio Conte was disappointed with the club’s business through the summer despite spending more than £150 million (about $197 million) on new players.

Alvaro Morata became Chelsea’s record signing when he joined from Real Madrid for £70 million, and the club also picked up Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Danny Drinkwater.

But Conte was frustrated that the club missed out on Fernando Llorente, who joined Spurs from Swansea instead, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opted for Liverpool.

Barkley, the Everton midfielder, had also been a target for Chelsea, reportedly traveling to London but changing his mind during the last transfer window. But the club is determined to secure his services in the new year, according to The Mirror.

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Antonio Conte Antonio Conte at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, southern England, October 28. GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty

A hamstring injury has meant Barkley has not featured at all for Everton this season. He had frequently fallen out with former manager Ronald Koeman, and is yet to hear who his permanent successor will be. Sam Allardyce is the favorite, while David Unsworth is in interim charge.

Conte and Chelsea also want Benteke, the Palace striker, as back-up to Morata after missing out on Llorente in the summer. Conte has not shown much faith in Michy Batshuayi, the only other striker in the Italian’s squad.

Conte’s frustrations over Chelsea’s transfer activity stemmed from his belief that the club failed to replace all those who had left the previous year.

Since Conte took charge in the summer of 2016, Mikel John Obi, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic, John Terry, Ramires, Diego Costa, Nathan Ake and Oscar have all left the club.

Despite much speculation, Chelsea is avoiding a crisis at the moment as Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United saw the club go one point off second place in the Premier League.

Victory or a draw against Atletico Madrid next month, at Stamford Bridge, would see Chelsea qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

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