Antonio Conte has claimed that he would like to keep Michy Batshuayi at Chelsea for the rest of the season even if the Blues manage to sign another striker before the transfer window closes on Wednesday (31 January).

Yet, the Italian boss added that the Belgium international will be allowed to make the decision amid suggestions that he wants to move on loan somewhere else to increase his chances of playing the summer World Cup.

Batshuayi scored two goals during Chelsea's 3-0 victory over Newcastle on Sunday [28 January] to help the Blues book a place in the FA Cup fifth round.

The future of the 24-year-old striker at Stamford Bridge has come into question in recent weeks amid the Blues attempts to bring a new number nine to serve as a back-up for Alvaro Morata for the second half of the season.

Sevilla are interested in signing the Belgium international on loan while Chelsea are said to be still in negotiations with AS Roma to sign Edin Dzeko before the transfer window closes.

But Conte says that even if the Blues sign a new forward this month Batshuayi could stay at Stamford Bridge as he wants to have three different options for the remainder of the season.

"If you see our squad, we don't have three, four or five strikers, we have two, and Hazard who is a different striker who can play in this way," the Chelsea boss said in the press conference following the win over Newcastle.

"For the press, it depends a lot if the striker scores or doesn't score. For me, it's important to score, but at the same time, it's important the striker has to work very well for the team. In this way, Michy has improved a lot, and then the club will make the best decision,

"When you have to play the league, the Champions League and then the FA Cup, three strikers is the minimum. Then we have to see what will happen during the transfer market. I don't know if we will be able to get another player, but if we do, it doesn't mean Michy has to go on loan. We have a lot of competition.

"If the club decides to add another player, I don't know if Michy wants to stay or wants to go on loan. In this case it will be the player's decision, not my decision, because I am ready to continue working with these players because I am very happy with them."

Batshuayi's brace against Newcastle took his tally to 10 goals this season despite having played second fiddle to Morata since the beginning of the campaign.

Conte is unsure whether it was his best game in the Chelsea shirt but the manager admitted that the Belgium international has made an impressive progress since his arrival from Marseille in the summer of 2016.

"I don't know if it was his best game, but it was very important for the team and for him. For the striker to score is very important for confidence. We are talking about a young player with great potential. Today I showed the most important thing is the present, not the future, otherwise I would have taken other choices," Conte added.

"Michy has worked with us for one-and-a-half years, and he has improved a lot in many tactical situations. We are talking about a powerful player because he is strong physically, and for sure he has a lot of space for improvement.

"My task is to work with him and every player and try to improve them, and if I do that the team improves. I am very happy for him and for the team. Now we have to continue in this way."

Michy Batshuayi
Batshuayi's brace helped the Blues into the fifth round of the FA Cup Getty