Mark Lawrenson raises questions about Chelsea transfers under Antonio Conte

The Liverpool legend is critical of Antonio Conte's summer transfer dealings after allowing some key players to leave the Chelsea squad

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: The Sport Review

Mark Lawrenson has questioned why Chelsea boss Antonio Conte opted to sell important squad players in the summer transfer window.

The defending champions have made a difficult start to the Premier League season following a return of three victories in their opening eight games.

Chelsea finished as title winners for the second time in three seasons last term after the Blues finished seven points clear of Tottenham Hotspur.

Conte signed six players in the summer but the Chelsea boss missed out on some of their top targets such as Romelu Lukaku and Alex Sandro.

While the west London side sold Nemanja Matic to a £40m deal to title rivals Manchester United, the Blues also allowed squad players such as Nathaniel Chabolah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathan Ake to leave the squad this summer.

Former Liverpool defender Lawrenson has little sympathy for Conte given the Chelsea manager’s decision to allow some versatile members of his squad to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer transfer window.

“If Chelsea boss Antonio Conte thinks he is short of numbers, why did he let so many players – 26 in total – go out on loan?” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.

“There must have been one or two there about whom he might have thought, ‘you know what, these lads might just train on’.

“They sold some squad players too, like Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Ake, and I don’t get it – especially because you are not worried about money when you are at that football club. Why not wait until January?”

Chelsea signed Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Alvaro Morata, Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta.

The Blues have won the Premier League title in two of the past three seasons under Jose Mourinho and then Conte.

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