Conte backs 'important' Costa to start firing again for Chelsea

"But if offers from clubs arrive, new opportunities may arise, especially at historical clubs". I worked in Italy and I think they want to come back for me in Italy.

Chelsea travel to Bournemouth on Saturday having responded to a shock loss to Crystal Palace with victory over Manchester City on Wednesday.

He added: "I know for a fact he has been around Stamford Bridge on a number of occasions this year. We're fighting for the title and we want to achieve this goal, then we'll try to build something important together".

Antonio Conte has suggested that Chelsea's squad depth and lack of European action is a big reason for their dominance.

And Wilkins, who coached under Italian managers Gianluca Vialli and Carlo Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge, believes Pirlo is top of Conte's list to replace Holland ahead of next season.

Bournemouth's first defeat in six matches leaves Eddie Howe's side in 15th place in the Premier League, but the Englishman felt his side competed with the champions-elect. "Also, Diego won in the past and he has good experience". His compatriot Thibaut Courtois has urged the club to deflect apparent interest from Real Madrid in the playmaker.

It is said that his relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is strong, while he has also been getting on well with executive director and the Russian's right-hand woman Marina Granovskaia, a relationship, it is hinted, has taken a little more time to develop.

"It's very unusual because Andrea Pirlo is playing and he wants to continue to play".

The goalkeeper said in the London Evening Standard: "Eden is not affected by it". He is just calm.

"I read this interview about Andrea Pastorello, I don't know why this person has spoken about me", he said.

"The present is more important than the future for all of us".

Conte insisted that while Chelsea and Spurs are the main contenders, the title race was wide open, even though his table-toppers are 12 points in front of third-placed Liverpool, who've played a game more.

  • Julie Sanders