Antonio Conte has admitted that both Asmir Begović and Branislav Ivanovic could leave Chelsea before the end of the current January transfer window. However, the Italian boss insisted that the Blues will only sanction the departure of the Bournemouth target if they sign first another goalkeeper to backup Thibaut Courtois.
Conte confirmed earlier this month that Bournemouth had launched a bid to sign Begović – and the Bosnian is reportedly likely to make the move in order to secure more playing time.
Chelsea have thus been linked with the likes of Newcastle's Karl Darlow, AC Milan's Diego López and Celtic number one Craig Gordon in recent days. However, the Premier League leaders have failed to sign any of them and Conte insisted that the Blues won't let Begović to leave before signing someone first.
"It's the same situation as for Iva (Ivanovic). There are three days to finish this transfer window. The situation is very clear with Asmir," Conte said in the press conference after both played a role in the 4-0 win over Brentford in the FA Cup.
"Asmir is a really important player for me, a really good goalkeeper, important in the changing room. We are open to offer him the possibility to go in another team, but it's important we have a substitution. We have some situations we are seeing, but we are not closer. He loves Chelsea, his teammates, the club. We have a really good relationship and for sure it won't be a problem."
Ivanovic also played and scored in the 4-0 victory over Brentford after coming off the bench in the second half. However, his future is under big scrutiny after having been linked with a move to Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg in recent days.
Conte has admitted that the right-back will have the final decision over his future as Chelsea are ready to let him go – as he has barely playing this season and will end his contract at the end of the campaign.
"First of all, I'm pleased for Iva. He scored a goal and that is always a great joy for a player," Conte said. "In this situation, it's important to evaluate a lot of things, above all for the player. He hasn't played a lot for us this season. I know when a player has the habit to play every game and it happens that you're not playing regularly, it's not easy to accept this decision," Conte said.
"Iva knows the situation well. I'm pleased if he remains here with us, but in this situation, the player must make the best decision for him and his family. I'm ready to accept any decision. He deserves great respect for his career at Chelsea. He has played a lot of games, he has won a lot, and we have to respect his decision."