Antonio Conte insists the future of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois is a private matter for Chelsea, as speculation persists over the Belgian duo’s commitment to the club.
Hazard’s father claimed in an interview with Le Soir that he has rejected the chance to extend his contract in order to wait from a possible offer from Real Madrid.
Goalkeeper Courtois has also been linked with the Spanish and European champions and still has family in Madrid, having spent three years on loan with Atletico Madrid between 2011 and 2014.
Conte was unwilling to offer any clues as to whether the two players will commit to new contracts, but stressed that negotiations will not be discussed in public.
“Thibaut has a contract, also for the next season,” said the Chelsea boss. “We are talking about one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
“Me and my staff are proud to have him as goalkeeper and we are proud to create this synergy, this link between three fantastic goalkeepers [Courtois, Willy Caballero and Eduardo].
“I’m very happy to have these three players. For sure, I hope to keep all the players for the next season.
“As you know, it’s a private conversation between the agent and the club. You hope for Courtois to stay, for sure. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper and a really good guy.”
A special message from Antonio Conte in his post-match press conference this afternoon! pic.twitter.com/VIhEhLVCFi
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 26, 2017
Asked about Hazard, he replied: “My answer is always the same: it’s a private conversation between the club and the player and the agent of the player.
“I’m proud to have him in my team and my squad, I’m very happy to work with him. He’s a really good guy, he has a lot of space for improvement to become one of the best in the world.”
Conte also dismissed the suggestion that Courtois wants to move back to Spain simply because of his family connections.
“I don’t know about this issue. When you’re at a great club and you trust in the project, you stay,” said the Italian.
“The family is not the problem. But, I repeat, it’s a private conversation between the player, the agent of the player and the club.”
Conte is also happy to leave recruitment matters in the hands of Chelsea officials, although he recognises the transfer window next month is a key time for the Premier League champions to strengthen.
“This window could be important, if we are able to find the right players,” he said. “Otherwise, we continue to work with these players. For sure, the club will try to do their best to improve the squad and the numerical aspect.
“I’m a coach. I have to work with my players. My task is on the pitch. The club decide if they want to improve the squad and the team.”
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