Antonio Conte responds to directly to reports Chelsea star could join Barcelona
The Chelsea manager has no intention of selling Eden Hazard amid reported interest from Barcelona
Antonio Conte has rubbished speculation linking Chelsea star Eden Hazard with a move to Barcelona.
The Belgium international has emerged as a target to replace Neymar at the Catalan side following the forward’s world-record £198m move to Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday.
Barcelona now have a huge transfer budget to spend on signing a world-class successor to the Brazil international ahead of the 2017-18 season.
Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho was initially thought to be Barcelona’s top target but Hazard has emerged as a potential contender to replace Neymar.
The Belgian star has regularly been linked with a move to Barcelona’s bitter rivals Real Madrid since winning his first Premier League title.
But Zinedine Zidane is currently pursuing Monaco teenager Kylian Mbappe to bolster his attacking options ahead of their defence of the Champions League and La Liga.
And Chelsea boss Conte has no intention of selling Hazard as the Italian coach looks to retain their Premier League crown.
“We are trying to buy the players, not to sell them,” Conte said at his pre-match media conference ahead of the Community Shield.
“Otherwise the number is always less and we are in trouble.
“These are rumours. Eden is very happy to stay with us and to start the new season.”
Hazard scored 16 goals and made five assists in 36 appearances in the Premier League last season to help Conte win the title in his first campaign in charge of the west London club.
The Belgian star has won two Premier League crowns, the Europa League, the EFL Cup and the FA Cup since moving to Stamford Bridge from Lille in 2012.