Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has dropped a massive hint that he may be looking to make a move for Arturo Vidal in the summer. The Bayern Munich midfielder's contract at the Allianz Arena expires in 2019, and the Bundesliga club could cash in on the £53m ($71m)-rated midfielder next summer or fear losing him on a free.

Conte and Vidal share a special relationship since their time with Juventus, having won three consecutive Serie A titles together, as well as one Coppa Italia. And since returning to Germany with Bayern, he has won back-to-back league championships, establishing himself as among the best in the game.

Conte was unwilling to open up on his plans for the 30-year-old but stated that he had huge respect for the Chilean and if there was someone he would want to go to war with, it would be Vidal.

"It's not right to talk about players from other teams. July is very far but, at the same time, Arturo is a fantastic player. And we spent many years in Juventus together. I said if I have to go to war, I will go with him," Conte said, as quoted by the Mirror.

Meanwhile, Chelsea consolidated on third place in the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at home on Tuesday, 26 December. Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso got their names on the scoresheet as the Blues swept home with consummate ease.

Conte was full praise for the duo after the match as they stuck to their task and delivered a notable performance when they needed it most.

"Today, it was positive for Alvaro to score because he's our number nine, and against Everton, he didn't play. Also, for Alonso to have scored five goals as a wing-back is a great achievement but it's important for him to continue because it's very important for us to have this alternative," Conte told Chelsea's official website.

"The commitment of my players was great. I was very happy after the Everton game with our performance but we didn't win. If we learn to be more clinical and exploit the many chances we have in a game, it will be better for us."

Arturo Vidal
Arturo Vidal is still appreciated by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Getty