Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has reiterated that Eden Hazard is going nowhere amid fresh speculation over a possible exit from Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian international will miss the start of the new season with an ankle injury, but as he continues his recovery, transfer talk has linked him with a move to Barcelona as the Catalan giants eye a replacement for Neymar after he joined PSG in a whopping €222m deal, as per BBC Sport.
However, Conte has given a no-nonsense response to the matter, insisting that Hazard is going nowhere as he isn’t interested in losing players at Chelsea this month, but instead will be looking to strengthen his squad to ensure that they can compete on various fronts.
“We are trying to buy the players, not to sell them,” Conte told the media, as reported by Sky Sports. “Otherwise the number is always less and we are in trouble.
“I think these are rumours and Eden is very happy to stay with us, to play with Chelsea and to start the new season. To recover [from] his injury and to start the season with us. I think so.”
The 26-year-old will have an even bigger role to play this coming campaign given that Diego Costa is expected to leave before the end of August, while it may take Alvaro Morata time to settle and showcase his full talent.
In turn, Hazard’s return from injury will be highly welcomed, although the reigning Premier League champions will have to do without him in the Community Shield against Arsenal on Sunday, as well as their league opener against Burnley on August 12 as he continues his rehabilitation.