Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has admitted he has rarely been allowed to sign his preferred transfer targets during his managerial career as the Italian prepares to embark on improving his squad during the January window.

The 48-year-old began his coaching career in his homeland with Serie B side Arezzo before spells at Bari, Atalanta and Siena led him returning to Juventus – having spent 13 years at the club as a player – where he won the Serie A title in each of his three seasons in charge.

A two-year spell with Italy followed before he moved to Chelsea in 2016, winning the Premier League title in his maiden campaign. But his second term has not been anything like as tranquil as the first, with Conte taking aim at the club's failure to back him in the transfer market.

Amid the departure of Michael Emenalo as technical director, Conte has admitted he will have no power over who Chelsea choose to sign this month, amid links with the likes of Alex Sandro, Thomas Lemar and Ross Barkley.

And the latest outburst from the 20-cap Italy international has seen him claim that he has been regularly let down in the transfer market by clubs preferring to run an "austerity programme".

"I do not aim high with my requests, especially as in my history I've rarely been given the players I asked for," he told Sky Sport Italia, according to

"I always ended up at clubs who were running an austerity programme. I just try to do my work. If someone arrives, good, if they don't, then that's fine too. I have to continue my work, either way."

Conte was speaking in the wake of Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, a game that highlighted the highest profile transfer decision made during his 18-month spell at Stamford Bridge.

Alvaro Morata spurned three guilt-edged chances, including in stoppage time after Hector Bellerin had equalised in the 92<sup>nd minute for Arsenal, on the same night that Diego Costa opened his account for Atletico Madrid just five minutes into his comeback game against Lleida Esportiu in the Copa del Rey.

With Conte lacking trust in his other out-and-out forward Michy Batshuayi, a new striker is high on his agenda this month though it remains to be seen whether Chelsea will afford him the funds to improve a position they spent £70m on in the summer when Morata arrived from Real Madrid.

Barkley reportedly remains a target for the Blues after they failed to acquire the England international during the summer, while Lemar is destined to move to the Premier League amid interest from Liverpool and Arsenal in the Monaco man.

Antonio Conte
Conte faces a tough January window as he seeks to improve Chelsea's squad. Getty Images