Monday, 4 December 2017

Conte told this signing will ease Morata concerns, Liverpool striker would’ve been option

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Former Chelsea midfielder Ray Wilkins believes Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski would be the perfect signing for his former club.

Antonio Conte was keen to bring in another striker to follow Alvaro Morata’s arrival last summer, with Chelsea coming close to sealing a deal for Fernando Llorente before Tottenham Hotspur swooped and acquired the Spaniard ahead of their London rivals.

Michy Batshuayi, who had been expected to leave west London on loan in the summer, is Conte’s only other natural centre forward option. While the Belgian has come off the bench twice to score winners against Atletico Madrid and Watford this season, his manager’s decision to seek an alternative in Llorente during the summer suggests the former Marseille striker isn’t part of his long-term plans.

Speaking to Sportingbet, former Blues player and assistant manager Ray Wilkins admitted Conte and the club are likely to be frustrated in their attempts to bring in their first-choice targets during the mid-season window, but sees the prolific Lewandowski as the perfect candidate to join Morata in attack.

“When you’re Chelsea, or any top club for that matter, you’re always looking for Champions League calibre players, most of which are already playing for teams in the competition and therefore are registered and won’t be able to play in European competitions for you. You have to look at teams who have had the unfortunate situation of dropping out of Europe” Wilkins said.

“It would have been lovely to see Bayern Munich knocked out and Robert Lewandowski come to Chelsea but that’s unlikely to happen. He’s a player I’d love to see come to Stamford Bridge. Unless they pull a gem out of the bag, it’s a difficult to window to play in.”

Chelsea’s failure to bring in another striker in the summer followed their decision to allow of their brightest young attacking talents in Tammy Abraham to leave to join Swansea City on loan. The Blues also lost Dominic Solanke, who joined Liverpool after turning down Chelsea’s offer of a new contract.

According to Wilkins, both players would represent better options on the bench than Batshuayi, echoing recent comments from club great Frank Lampard that there is currently too much pressure on Morata to lead the line on his own.

“I agree with Frank’s comments. I think they need another striker of quality. Batshuayi is not my cup of tea. I’d have had Abraham or Solanke on the bench instead. I would put Hazard up alongside Morata and go for it. They would give teams absolute hell. If you release Hazard of all defensive duty, he will cause havoc in the opposition half.”

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