Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed goalkeeper Asmir Begovic can leave if the league leaders find "a good substitution" for him. The Bosnian international has had to make do with being Thibaut Courtois' understudy and is attracting interest from Bournemouth.
Chelsea tried to replace Begovic with Celtic's Craig Gordon but were swiftly rebuffed by the Scottish champions. Conte understands the former Stoke City star's desire for game-time but is more than happy to keep him at Stamford Bridge until the end of the season.
"There is a Begovic situation," Conte said in his press conference. "Bournemouth want him, but Begovic is a Chelsea player and I'm happy to have him in the squad, with his commitment on the pitch and behaviour in the dressing room. Only if we have a good substitution he can go, otherwise he will stay here.
"I understand him but it's important to understand me and the club, now it's difficult because no one is able to sell you a good player. I repeat we are open to replacing him in the best way, if not possible then Begovic stays with us and helps us until the end of the season."
Begovic is set to start in Chelsea's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Brentford on Saturday while Branislav Ivanovic may also receive a rare run-out. Conte spoke briefly about the Serbian, who is believed to be close to joining Zenit St Petersburg, and also discussed the possibility of potential arrivals in west London.
"I don't know but this month there is this window and there is a lot of speculation, a lot of lie but a lot of truth in some situation." Conte said. "There are four days to finish this window and then we'll see the situation (with Ivanovic).
"I have confidence in my players. If something happens to improve our squad numbers I'm happy, if it doesn't, I'm happy all the same. The club know my thoughts on this. We can continue in this way and try to develop our young players."
Conte has a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday's clash with the Bees; if Kenedy and Charly Musonda feature against Brentford they will be unable to go out on loan to another club for the rest of the season. The Chelsea boss is fully aware of the situation facing the two widemen, who spent the first half of the season at Watford and Roma respectively, but admits he has not reached a decision on what to do with them yet.
Conte also said Nathan Ake, who was called back from his loan spell at Bournemouth, will play some part against Brentford and challenged the Dutchman to prove he is fit for purpose.
"If tomorrow Kenedy or Musonda play for one second, they must stay with us for the rest of the season. They know this, the club knows this and I know this." Conte added. "But I think they are two young players with good prospects, they have a good will to fight, to improve, to work and if we take the decision to keep them here I think the players will be very happy and the club and I the same."
"I think (Ake) has the possibility to play in different positions, as a centre-back and wing-back. Tomorrow is a good opportunity for him to show me that he is into our idea of football and to show he can play with us."