Chelsea are currently flying high on the Premier League table, but manager Antonio Conte is looking to make some big additions to his core squad.
The Italian manager has honed in on versatile Englishman Michail Antonio, and sources have informed ESPN that Chelsea are tracking the 26-year-old with a view to add him to their ranks.
The report states that Conte was impressed by Antonio as the Hammers defeated Chelsea in the League Cup round of 16 back in October. The English Antonio has played in a number of different roles for West Ham, as Slaven Bilic has employed the 3-5-2 formation made famous by the Italian Antonio.
Chelsea have been heavily linked with a move for a defender over the past few months. However, the departure of Oscar for China in a whopping £60 million move has left a hole in attack that the Blues need to fill sooner rather than later.
The Blues’ starting XI has been pretty much locked in since they embarked on their current 13 match winning streak, but the fact remains that they have been very lucky when it comes to injuries.
None of their crucial players have been injured for a prolonged period, but Conte and Chelsea are very thin on back-up in case they are hit by an injury crisis, a common occurrence for the top clubs in the Premier League.
Michail Antonio has played all over the park for West Ham United this season. The Englishman has filled in at right-back, played as a right sided defensive and attacking midfielder, left winger and central striker. The 26-year-old has notched up an impressive tally of eight goals even while playing in this nomadic role.
This is a factor that Antonio Conte will surely be impressed by. The Englishman has shown that he can provide back-up in a number of positions in the three man defensive format that the Italian prefers. He could take the right wing-back role held by Victor Moses, or even the central striker position where Diego Costa plays, if the situation demands it.
West Ham are unlikely to allow their London rivals to snap up Michail Antonio though. He is a crucial player for Slaven Bilic and the Hammers, and nothing short of a hefty transfer fee would convince West Ham to let him go.