Had Antonio Conte gotten his wish to sign Virgil Van Dijk and Romelu Lukaku in the summer of 2017, the two would have been Chelsea players right now.
Prior to returning to Italy and become Inter Milan’s head coach, Antonio Conte had a two-year spell in west London where he won the Premier League title in his first season and the FA Cup in his second season.
However, as a result of failure to match the heights in the 2016/17 season that saw Chelsea miss out on the Champions League qualification, Conte paid the price at the end of the 2017/18 season when he was sacked.
Although, according to Conte, he could have avoided the sack had his transfer request to sign Van Dijk and Lukaku been met in the 2017 summer.
The Italian coach has revealed he had asked the Chelsea board to bolster his title-winning squad with Van Dijk and Lukaku who ultimately joined Liverpool and Man United respectively.
“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”. Said Conte.
“We were in contact every day and I always said that with these two players we would improve my team by 30 percent. I think maybe we lost the monument to bring Chelsea at the very top and then to stay for many years”.
“It was a pity it didn’t happen and Romelu is showing with Inter that my idea was right and also Van Dijk has shown Liverpool that my idea was right for the club”.
Finally, Conte had his wish met, to coach Lukaku last summer. The Belgium international made the move to Italy from Man United and enjoyed a stunning debut season for the side as he fired them to the Europa League win.
This, therefore, proved Conte was once again right to request a return to Stamford Bridge for Lukaku.
“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”.
“I 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”. Concluded Conte.