Antonio Conte has insisted a club’s appeal is more important in transfer negotiations than a manager speaking to a player personally.
Chelsea were handed a blow on the final day of the summer transfer window after Ross Barkley turned down a move to the champions despite Chelsea and Everton agreeing a fee for the midfielder.
Barkley later revealed the reason for rejecting the Blues was down to his current injury, although that admission did not stop stories from emerging that claimed Conte’s phone being switched off scuppered the move and that the Chelsea manager had been prevented from speaking to the Everton man personally.
Conte dismissed those claims on Friday, labelling such stories as “ridiculous”, and insisted the most important aspect of a transfer is a player wanting to sign for a particular club – and not for a particular manager.
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When asked whether he had signed players before without speaking to them first, Conte said: “Yes.
“When you stay at Juventus and every single player wants to come, they arrive whether they speak or not to the head coach. If a player has great desire to play for a great club, he signs.
“When I was at Juventus, players signed for Juventus. Not for the manager.”
After then being questioned about how important speaking to players during transfer negotiations are, Conte told reporters: “I can reply to you from my previous experience in Italy. Sometimes it’s important. Other times it’s not.
“Before giving my opinion to the club, I try to take my information about the player, about his attitude, his behaviour, about the right characteristics, and then I give my opinion to the club.”
Conte spent most of his early career as a footballer playing for his local club Lecce in Italy before completing a move to Juventus in 1991.
The 48-year-old admitted he never spoke to then-Juve manager Giovanni Trapattoni before signing for the Turin-based side – but said the club’s chairman phoning his mother made a huge difference.
“I don’t know if I was lucky or unlucky, but I only lived one transfer,” Conte said. “From Lecce to Juventus. That was the past. But I remember the chairman called me. Trappatoni didn’t call me.
“The chairman spoke with me and also with my mother. I was only 21 years old. To change totally your life, to go into another city, alone because my family stayed in Lecce… I think it was a great idea for the chairman to call my mother.
“The chairman wanted to make my mother have the right feeling for this transfer. I repeat, for a mother to lose one son it’s not easy.”