Chelsea expected to use Oscar money to reinforce title push

Antonio Conte targeting a defender and a midfielder in January transfer window

Chelsea’s Diego Costa is expected to be offered a new contract worth £200,000 a week. Photograph: Hannah McKay/EPA

Chelsea’s Diego Costa is expected to be offered a new contract worth £200,000 a week. Photograph: Hannah McKay/EPA

 

Chelsea hope to use the money raised by Oscar’s imminent £60 million departure for Shanghai SIPG to reinforce in midfield and defence next month, with discussions also planned with Diego Costa’s representatives aimed at securing the striker to a new deal.

Oscar’s club record sale to the Chinese Super League side should be confirmed before the transfer window opens, and while Chelsea always anticipated being active in the market, the money raised will be ploughed back into the side. Antonio Conte has seen his team move six points clear at the top of the Premier League but will hope to add at least two players to bolster his options and maintain momentum.

The manager accompanied the Chelsea technical director, Michael Emenalo, to France this month to watch Monaco’s Tiemoué Bakayoko and Djibril Sidibé in the Champions League against Tottenham Hotspur. Prising either player away next month may be difficult given the Ligue 1 club are involved in the Champions League – they play Manchester City in the last 16 – but both are aware of the interest.

Fenerbahce’s Simon Kjaer and the Roma pair Antonio Rudiger and Radja Nainggolan have been heavily scouted. Another player of interest to Chelsea, Lenoardo Bonucci, has signed a contract extension at Juventus.

Club record

Conte’s team have won 11 Premier League games in a row, equalling a club record, but the head coach has spoken regularly with Emenalo and the hierarchy about their strategy in the transfer window. “We must be very pleased with the side and with the achievement we’ve reached now, and I’m happy to play with these players,” said the Italian after Saturday’s 1-0 success at Crystal Palace. “But it’s logical that I have to speak with my club, to try to find the solution and make sure we arrive in a good position at the end of the season. I don’t know what will happen in January, but it’s important to talk to the club. We have a fantastic relationship, and I have my ideas.”

Talks with Costa’s representatives have been pencilled in for the new year aimed at tying the 28-year-old to a new deal worth £200,000 a week. The striker’s contract expires in 2019 but there is a desire to extend the stay of a player who has scored 13 times in the league this season and played such a key role.

Costa has cut an unsettled figure at times since moving to London from Atlético Madrid in 2014 but is as settled now as he has ever been. He is in Brazil on leave having accrued a fifth yellow card of the campaign at Selhurst Park – his first caution in 11 matches – and, whereas the rest of the squad returned to training yesterday having enjoyed three days off, the forward has been granted an extra 24 hours away given he cannot feature again until the visit of Stoke City to Stamford Bridge on New Year’s Eve.

The Belgium forward Michy Batshuayi is expected to start in the Premier League for the first time against Bournemouth on St Stephen’s Day, deputising for Costa. Eden Hazard has had treatment on the knee injury sustained against West Bromwich Albion but, having impressed at Palace, should be fit enough to start on Monday. Guardian service

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