Football

Conte laments lack of say in Chelsea's transfer matters

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said he has little influence on the club's transfer market activity after they were knocked out of the League Cup by Arsenal yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Chelsea were beaten 2-1 in the second leg of their semi-final after taking the lead at the Emirates Stadium.

The result capped a difficult period for the south London club, who have now failed to win six of their last seven games, discounting the penalty shoot-out win over Norwich City in the FA Cup.

The manager said his squad was under pressure due to a number of injuries and he was seemingly unhappy at a lack of activity in the transfer market.

"I don't have a big impact in the transfer market," he said.

"About the transfer market, from the summer there is the club and the club decides for every single player."

Chelsea have been linked with a move for AS Roma forward Edin Dzeko, and media reports in Italy yesterday said a deal was close.

Chelsea have reportedly targeted several strikers in the January window, including Andy Carroll and Ashley Barnes, as Conte looks to ease the burden on Alvaro Morata.

When asked about Dzeko, Conte reiterated that the situation was out of his hands.

"I don't like to speak about the transfer market, the club decides our transfer market, as I said before my task is to try to improve my players," he said.

Nothing separated the sides after the semi-final's first leg at Stamford Bridge ended goalless two weeks ago, but the stalemate was swiftly broken yesterday as Chelsea took the lead through Eden Hazard after seven minutes.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has faced perennial questions about his side's steel in the face of adversity, but these were swept away as they levelled five minutes later through a fortuitous Antonio Ruediger own goal before they turned the match on its head.

Midfielder Granit Xhaka turned predator 15 minutes after half-time to finish from close range for the winner, setting up an enticing final against English Premier League leaders Manchester City next month. - REUTERS

Football