LONDON — Expect both Chelsea and Everton to splash plenty of cash in the remaining days of the summer transfer window.
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In the west London sun Chelsea eased to victory against the Toffees but both teams seemed short of options in certain areas and both managers confirmed afterwards that they expect to be busy before the transfer window shuts on Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. ET.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has already brought in Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Willy Caballero this summer but he is linked with moves for multiple new players including Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Virgil Van Dijk and others.
“I think the club is working very hard to improve our squad,” Conte said. “Don’t forget that when we restart next September we play seven games and I need to rotate my players. It is very difficult to play seven games in a month with the same players. The club, they know very well which is our situation but I repeat that I am ready in every case and then to continue to work with this group of players and players we have.”
Conte — who saw his side impress with Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata scoring the goals against a lackluster Everton — responded to reports he may leave Chelsea if they don’t sign new players before Thursday by saying he was “totally committed to the club” but emphasized that bringing in new players isn’t solely down to him.
“I am a coach. I am not a manager,” Conte said. “I think the best of my work is to try and improve my players and improve my team. Then, for sure, you want to strengthen your squad you have to give your opinion and speak with your club. Then the club go in the transfer market and try to solve the situation and try to help us. Sometimes it could be possible, sometimes it is not possible. I repeat, I must be focused on the pitch and to continue to work with my players.”
As for Everton boss Ronald Koeman, he wouldn’t be drawn on speculation linking Everton with a late move for Diego Costa — Conte declined to talk about Costa’s situation — when asked if the Spanish international could be a stunning signing for Everton in the final days of the window.
“I don’t know. We are looking to players that are maybe available. If we sign somebody then it will be somebody who makes the team better,” Koeman said. “I don’t speak about names, players, the media is talking about Costa and we are looking and we are doing our job and hopefully we will arrange it for next week.”
One thing is for sure, Koeman is looking for a striker and one more player, believed to be a left-sided center back, to help improve Everton’s chances of mounting a serious top four challenge and he was insistent it needs to happen with a long season ahead in the PL, Europa League and domestic cup competitions.
His side failed to have a single shot on target at Chelsea on Sunday as Sandro Ramirez struggled and looked isolated up top, while Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson had off days underneath him.
“We need at least two more players to get numbers in but the most important is to have a striker in and one more player. That’s what we need,” Koeman confirmed. “If you look to all the squads of the big teams, they have so many options. If we get everybody back like Coleman, Schneiderlin, Bolasie, Klaassen, McCarthy, Barkley, you are talking about six or seven first team players. If we had those players, but of course, injuries are part of football but if we have those players we have too much but we are unlucky in that case.”
One player Koeman may not be counting on for a while is Belgian attacker Kevin Mirallas who was left out of the squad due to a poor attitude.
Koeman said Mirallas is “struggling to deal with moments in the season and disappointments” and added that he “expected everybody to be part of the team and if somebody is showing he is disappointed and his attitude is not the same, then I make decisions.” He also confirmed that Bosnian midfielder Mohamed Besic played on Sunday despite his father being shot in Bosnia and the midfielder insisted he wanted to play despite the difficult circumstances.
The overall vibe was that the Dutchman seemed extremely confident of new arrivals this week and gave his board a little reminder that despite spending $180 million ($96.5 million of which came from the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United) on new signings this summer, Farhad Moshiri and Co. have to dig even deeper into their pockets.
“I am always confident because we did some good business but everybody knows, the board knows, the importance of the two signings,” Koeman said.
A busy summer is set to have a hectic ending for both Chelsea and Everton.