Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed that Juan Cuadrado will be in his plans at Stamford Bridge for the 2016/17 season. The Blues' former manager Jose Mourinho signed him in the 2015 January transfer window from Fiorentina and he struggled to get regular playing time under the Portuguese tactician.
The Colombian international was allowed to leave the west London club temporarily as he joined Juventus on a season-long loan deal last summer. He was impressive for the Italian giants as he played a role in helping them win their fourth straight Serie A title in the 2015/16 season.
Conte, who was the manager at the Turin club revealed that he was an admirer of Cuadrado when the latter was at Fiorentina. He is currently on a break following Colombia's campaign in the 2016 Copa America Centenario and the Italian coach wants to keep the 28-year-old at the club.
"Juan Cuadrado is a Chelsea player. He will come back very soon," Conte told Chelsea's official website.
"He's in our squad, I'm very happy to have him and train him. I wanted him when I was a coach at Juventus and he will come back very soon and train and play with us. Now, he's a Chelsea player and he'll stay with us. If something changes you'll know."
According to the Evening Standard, Cuadrado was linked with a move to La Liga winners Barcelona. The player expressed his delight after reports emerged that the Catalan club were looking at securing his services.
Conte's latest comments will be a blow to his former club, who were looking to sign him on a permanent transfer. The same report from the Evening Standard claims that Juventus had a gentlemen's agreement to sign Cuadrado for €22m ((£18.4m, $24.28m) this summer.