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Conte not planning to sell David Luiz

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Chelsea’s Italian head coach Antonio Conte give a press conference at Chelsea’s Cobham training facility in Stoke D’Abernon, southwest of London, on October 17, 2017

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 3 – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is not planning the January sale of defender David Luiz, as he focuses on Wednesday’s clash with Arsenal.

The Brazilian centre-back has lost his place to Danish counterpart Andreas Christensen, who has already made 15 Premier League appearances this season compared to Luiz’s eight.

A combination of injury and an alleged bust-up with Conte has seen Luiz linked with a transfer away from Stamford Bridge, including reports of interest from Arsenal, but won’t be going anywhere before a replacement arrives.

“David improved a lot his physical condition in the last couple of days,” Conte said. “He worked with us and I think he could be in contention for the Norwich game.

“I’m very happy to work with these players. I don’t see a problem. At the same time, I understand if some players are not playing regularly and want to leave.

“My expectation is all the players we have in the squad will stay here and continue to work. Our squad is not big and for this reason it’s impossible to send on loan or sell one player if we don’t sign another player.”

One player identified as a potential replacement for Luiz is Juventus stalwart Giorgio Chiellini, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

“Giorgio is a fantastic player but I think he wants to finish his career at Juventus,” Conte added. “I think it’s right to finish his career in this way.

“A lot of speculation is normal when the transfer window starts. It’s a difficult moment for every coach. In this period we must be very focused on our target and we need to find the right concentration for the transfer market.”

The Blues face the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium with the possibility of moving up to second place in the standings, and also have a League Cup double-header against the same opposition coming up later in January.

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