Antonio Conte reveals Chelsea tried to sign Romelu Lukaku and Virgil van Dijk

Antonio Conte led Chelsea to their sixth Premier League during his first year reign, as the Blues matched Arsenal’s 2002 record of most consecutive wins in a season. Conte became the first manager in Premier League history to win three consecutive Premier League Manager of the month awards.

However, things went sour the following season after Conte informed Diego Costa through a phone message that the striker was not in his plans anymore. Although Conte won the FA Cup final against Manchester United in 2017-18 season, Chelsea missed out on Champions League qualification by finishing fifth in the table. The Italian was sacked by Chelsea and replaced by fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri.

Conte, who is now the manager of Inter Milan admitted he tried to sign Romelu Lukaku and Virgil van Dijk during his time at Chelsea. Speaking to Telegraph the Italian said “I asked for two players and we were very, very close after we won the league. One player was Romelu Lukaku, the second player was Virgil van Dijk, and these two players were very, very close. We were in contact every day and I always said that with these two players we would improve my team by 30%.

I think maybe we lost the momentum to bring Chelsea at the very top and then to stay for many years. It was a pity that it didn’t happen and Romelu is showing with Inter that my idea was right and also Van Dijk has shown with Liverpool that my idea was right for the club. For sure, it would have been a different story if I was the coach of Romelu. Romelu is an incredible player and he has a lot of space for improvement. In one year at Inter, he had a lot of improvement because he wants to learn and I think I am a teacher. But he can continue to improve to become one of the best strikers in the world.

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