No Edin Dzeko deal; Michy Batshuayi could play vs Bournemouth - Conte
LONDON -- Antonio Conte insisted that Michy Batshuayi remains in contention for Chelsea's match against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday despite the possibility of a loan move to Borussia Dortmund, but confirmed that any move for Roma striker Edin Dzeko is off.
Batshuayi wants to leave Stamford Bridge on loan before Wednesday's transfer deadline in search of more regular first-team opportunities, but Conte is still without first-choice striker Alvaro Morata as he recovers from a lingering back injury and Chelsea are yet to sign a replacement.
Out-of-favour Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has reportedly moved to the top of Chelsea's wanted list while Tottenham frontman Fernando Llorente remains of interest, but Conte said that Dzeko will not be moving to Stamford Bridge in this window.
"Yes, he's in contention for tomorrow's game," Conte said of Batshuayi. "I don't know [if he will leave] but now he's a Chelsea player.
"For this reason he's in contention, also because I have Morata injured and I don't have other options, especially if Willian is also injured. Hazard can play No. 9, and then [I have to] find another No. 10."
Conte did, however, confirm that he would need to speak to Batshuayi to make sure he is in the right frame of mind to play.
"For sure, in this type of situation, the coach has to speak with the player, no?" he added.
"It's not simple, this situation with Batshuayi. There is only one day [left in the window]. It's not the best situation for me or the player but, as you know very well, the transfer market in January is not simple to find a solution for players coming in and going out.
"But the player knows very well the situation. Today he trained well and I prepared the game with him. You don't know what will happen tonight or tomorrow. We must be ready to face every situation. It's not the best situation to face, but we have to face it."
On the subject of Dzeko, he added: "He's Roma's player and I think that he will continue to be Roma's player."
Time is running out for Chelsea to secure the striker they require in order to sanction Batshuayi's departure, and Conte reiterated that he is willing to stick with his current attacking options until the summer if needed.
"I can hope [for] everything, but the most important thing is the reality," he said. "Now the reality is this, and I have to prepare the game in the right way with these players. I'm very happy to do this.
"I always say that I will be happy in both cases, if the club decides to add players, but otherwise I'm happy to continue to work with these players because they show me great behaviours, great commitment."
One deal that Chelsea are close to concluding is the signing of Roma left-back Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian reportedly left the Italian capital on Tuesday to travel to London to undergo a medical and finalise personal terms.
Conte has little time to focus on transfers amid preparations for the Bournemouth game, and his selection options continue to be limited by injuries.
Morata (back), David Luiz (ankle) and Willian (hamstring) are all unavailable, though Thibaut Courtois is fit again and Cesc Fabregas could feature after returning to the substitutes' bench in Saturday's 3-0 win over Newcastle in the FA Cup fourth round.
Conte regularly voiced complaints about Chelsea's unfavourable fixture schedule this season, and he admitted that having Premier League commitments on the same day as the close of the winter transfer window is far from ideal.
"It's not right to have a match when there is the deadline passing on the market... this is not right," he insisted. "You can have this type of situation. To have players who stay half and half [in their focus]. In the future, whoever decides the fixtures should reflect a bit before deciding to prepare this type of situation.
"Now I have to face this situation. There are many coaches who don't like to have a game when there is the deadline of the transfer market."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.