Published: Sun, September 10, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Antonio Conte Brands Ross Barkley Transfer Stories As 'Ridiculous'

Antonio Conte will be glad to see a fit Eden Hazard return from worldwide break as Chelsea visit the King Power Stadium to play Leicester City.

There have been reports recently suggesting that Barkley chose to pull out of the move because Conte's phone was switched off when the player's representatives tried to contact him.

The Belgium worldwide has not featured for the Blues this season after undergoing ankle surgery in the off-season, although he returned to action for his national side after coming on as a substitute in the 2018 World Cup qualifying wins over Gibraltar and Greece.

'Eden is available, and he is in the list for the game tomorrow, ' the Chelsea boss told reporters.

"I think he's improving a lot and he's worked very hard to be ready", Conte said of Hazard.

With a hectic schedule of seven games in 21 days, the depth of Conte's squad will get an immediate test, starting at Leicester on Saturday before their Champions League campaign kicks off next week.

Conte expects fellow Italian Davide Zappacosta to adapt quickly to his system as the two have worked together for the national team.

"Davide Zappacosta played against Israel for the national team which shows he is in good physical condition". But when I was at Juventus, players signed for Juventus. "But to play in another country another type of football is not easy for him but he has the right characteristics to adapt very soon". "We have to wait until the end of the season and then I can reply very well", he said. Then, for sure, the club asks me my opinion on players who can improve our team. "All the players are available and I'm happy for this", Conte said at his press conference on Friday.

That led to one of his more light-hearted lines as he talked about whether it is important that a manager speaks with potential signings - and whether it was important to him when he was a player.

In fact, the longest spell he's enjoyed at a club was with Villareal where he played 192 games in 6 years and bagged a rather impressive return of 82 goals.

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