LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Premier League champions Chelsea need to sign more players to improve squad depth for the new season, manager Antonio Conte said ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield match against Arsenal at Wembley.
Chelsea have signed four players so far – defender Antonio Rudiger (Roma), midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko (Monaco), striker Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid) and goalkeeper Willy Caballero (Manchester City) – but Conte wants more recruits.
“It’s very important to try to improve our squad, we have a small squad,” Conte told reporters on Friday.
“I think only one player is not enough to improve our team. We need more players, not at top level like Neymar, to improve our squad both in terms of quality and the size of it.”
Eight players including former captain John Terry have left Chelsea in the current transfer window and several others have been loaned out, with striker Diego Costa’s future yet to be resolved.
On Thursday, media reports quoted Costa’s lawyer as saying the player would formally ask to leave Chelsea following Conte’s “inadmissable behaviour” in allegedly telling Costa via text message in June that he was not in the club’s future plans.
That claim has been dismissed by Chelsea.
“The decision on Diego was made back in January. The player knew the decision, his agent knew the decision, clearly the lawyer has not been well informed,” a club spokesman said on Friday.
Chelsea lost to Arsenal twice last season, including May’s 2-1 FA Cup final defeat and Conte is expecting another tough encounter against Arsene Wenger’s side in the Community Shield match.
“We want to try to start the season with a win. I hope to see a good game from the players and for the people,” Conte said. “It’s the first trophy of the season so it’s an important game. We want to play a good game with good intensity.”
The Italian confirmed that playmaker Eden Hazard (ankle) and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko (knee) will miss Sunday’s game as they recover from surgery.
Conte said the duo could also miss the start of the league season, when Chelsea host Burnley on Aug 12. ($1 = 0.7649 pounds)