Antonio Conte has confirmed Chelsea were never interested in signing Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy and admitted the Blues could allow Kenedy go out on loan in the January transfer window.

The Blues will host the Foxes at Stamford Bridge on 13 January and Vardy is expected to lead his side's attack against the Premier League winners after making himself available for the clash. He has been a key player for his side and his 24 goals helped Leicester win the title under Claudio Ranieri in the 2015/16 season.

The Chelsea manager has heaped praise on Vardy for his goalscoring abilities, but stressed that the west London club were never interested in signing the England international. The former Juventus coach did stress the Blues are in the market for a "really good player" as a back-up for Alvaro Morata.

"No, honestly we didn't speak about him, but I repeat we are talking about a really good player," Conte explained, as quoted by

"For sure Vardy is a really good player and I don't like to speak about players of other teams, but in this case we are not talking about transfer market.

"I appreciate a lot this player because he is a really good player, Vardy. He played for the national team and is scoring with regularity in this league and is a good player, but this different — I am talking about him because you ask me and not the transfer market."

Conte's comments may come as a welcome boost for Manchester United. The Red Devils have reportedly identified Vardy as one of the targets as a back-up for Romelu Lukaku, claims the Telegraph. West Ham United striker Javier Hernandez is another option for Jose Mourinho's side as per the same report.

Meanwhile, The Chronicle suggests Newcastle United are interested in taking Kenedy on loan until the end of the season. The Brazilian is the second choice left wing-back at Chelsea behind Marcos Alonso.

The Italian manager suggested Chelsea will have to take a decision on finding a replacement – either from the academy or sign a new player – if Kenedy is allowed to go out on loan.

"In this case we have two solutions. If Kenedy goes on loan, we go to take another player or we take a player from the academy. Then the club has to decide which solution the club prefer," he said.

Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy is fit to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 13 January Getty