Antonio Conte reveals Chelsea attempted to sign top 29-year-old midfielder

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte confirms the Blues wanted to sign Radja Nainggolan in the summer transfer window

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte Photo: The Sport Review

Antonio Conte has confirmed that Chelsea attempted to sign Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan in the past.

The defending Premier League champions were linked with a move to sign the Belgium international in the 2016 summer transfer window following Conte’s appointment as their manager.

Defending champions Chelsea failed to reach an agreement with Roma before going on to win the Premier League title in Conte’s first campaign in charge of the west London outfit.

The Blues were linked with a fresh attempt to sign the versatile midfielder in the recent transfer window but Nainggolan remained in the Italian capital despite Conte’s admiration for the Belgian star.

The 29-year-old will come up against his former suitors in the Champions League on Wednesday night as Roma look to cause an upset at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking at his pre-match media conference ahead of Chelsea’s home clash against Roma, Conte opened up about the defending champions’ attempts to sign the creative midfielder.

“In the past, yes, we tried to buy him,” Conte said.

“But now Nainggolan is Roma’s player and I have great respect for him and for Roma, and also for my players.

“He’s a really good player. For me, one of the best midfielders. But he’s an opponent.”

Chelsea have lost their last two Premier League games following losses to Manchester City and Crystal Palace to leave the title holders nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

The Blues signed six players in the summer transfer window in an attempt to overhaul their squad ahead of the new season.

MORE: Latest Chelsea news and views

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