Antonio Conte has refused to offer Cesc Fabregas any reassurances over his Chelsea future, stating November was too early to discuss his plans for the midfielder.
Fabregas is working his way back from a thigh problem that has kept him out of Chelsea’s last four games but that has not stopped speculation linking him with a loan move away from Stamford Bridge in the January window.
Conte was asked about the Spain international at his news conference ahead of Saturday’s game with Everton, and said: “We are at the start of November and it is important to be in the present.
“For this type of situation it is too early to talk. Fabregas is Chelsea’s player and I’m very happy to have him in my squad. Now it’s time for him to recover and find the right form and then stay with the team for the rest of the season.”
On Fabregas’ injury, and that of France defender Kurt Zouma, Conte said: “Cesc and Kurt Zouma started to train with the team this week. It is normal when you start after a long period of rest you need to find the best form or the best shape and I think after the international break they will be available for selection.
“I’m pleased for Cesc because he is important for us and also for Kurt, I’m pleased for him. He played two games with the Under-23s and he will play another on Tuesday. He is recovering, he is very good. Now we hope he can stay with us for the rest of the season.”
Conte was equally vague about the future of John Obi Mikel, who has yet to feature under the Italian since his arrival and whose contract expires at the end of the season.
On the Nigeria midfielder, Conte added: “It’s normal in every squad to have players who arrive at the end of their contract. Together with the club we will make a decision.
“The most important thing is that Mikel is working very well as in the past he has had some injuries.
“Have I spoken with him? No, but it’s important to focus on the championship and on [what is happening] on the pitch. Then we can face other situations.”