Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte let go of a number of players during his two-year spell at the club, and we’d take a look at five big names that were sold under Conte.
1. Diego Costa
Diego Costa is the biggest name that the Italian let go of during his two years at Stamford Bridge, and it is the one Chelsea fans won’t forgive him the most for.
Costa was signed by Jose Mourinho and helped Chelsea to three Premier League titles but only lasted three seasons at the club.
Conte sent a text message to Diego Costa at the end of the 2016-17 season, to inform the striker that he is not required at Stamford Bridge anymore.
Conte’s text message read: “Hi Diego, I hope you are well. Thanks for the seasono [sic] we spent together. Good luck for the next year but you are not in my plan.”
Costa eventually moved to Atletico Madrid after falling out with Conte.
2. Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic is another big name that was sold by Conte as the Serbian joined Premier League rivals Manchester United in the summer of 2017 to link up with his former boss Jose Mourinho. Matic was sold for £40m, and Tiemoue Bakayoko was brought in as his replacement.
3. Mohamed Salah
While it was under Jose Mourinho that the Egyptian star failed to thrive, it will surprise you to note that it was under Conte’s watch that he was eventually sold. Conte was appointed as Chelsea boss in 2016, the same year that the Italian permitted the sale of Salah to Roma after a loan deal with the club.
Salah returned to the Premier League to sign for Liverpool for a then club-record fee of £36.9 million in 2017 and the rest is history.
Oscar is another huge name that left the club under Antonio Conte. The Brazilian wasn’t a regular under the Italian, and by the time Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG came with a mouth-watering contract offer, the Blues were as keen as Oscar to make the deal happen as he was sold for a juicy £60m transfer fee in 2016.
5. Mikel Obi
The Blues hero who had served the club for many years was frozen out under Antonio Conte before eventually leaving the club for greener pastures in China. According to Mikel, Conte left him out of his squad for opting to play for Dream Team VI at the 2016 Olympics.
Following his return from the tournament where he won the bronze medal, Mikel never played for Chelsea again until his move to Tianjin Teda.
The likes of Juan Cuadrado, Nathan Ake, Asmir Begovic and Bertrand Traore also left under Conte’s watch.
Which of these players do you think Conte should have kept at the time?