Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has confirmed that Marcos Alonso will be available for tomorrow's (4 January) eagerly anticipated Premier League showdown with Tottenham Hotspur. The versatile wing-back, a £23m ($28.2m) summer arrival from Fiorentina, featured for the full 90 minutes of a 4-2 victory over Stoke City on New Year's Eve but provoked concerns over a potential injury blow in a Snapchat post that appeared to show him receiving treatment.
However, any fears that Alonso will be sidelined for Wednesday's match have now been alleviated after Conte confirmed, at his pre-match press conference, that runaway leaders Chelsea have no fitness concerns to contend with as they chase a record-breaking 14th consecutive top-flight victory against their London rivals at White Hart Lane.
Captain John Terry returned to training last week following a buttock injury, while Pedro is back after missing that defeat of Stoke due to a one-match suspension automatically incurred after his fifth yellow card of the season picked up against Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
Conte also claimed that David Luiz's physical condition and pain is improving. The maverick centre-back has been playing with heavy strapping around his left knee after falling victim to a hideous late challenge from Sergio Aguero during last month's 3-1 win at Manchester City – one which earned the Argentine a straight red card and a four-game ban.
With the January window now open for business, Conte inevitably faced more questions regarding his transfer plans. While the Italian would not be drawn on specific targets amid questions regarding reported interest in Wolfsburg defender Ricardo Rodriguez and Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal, he did confirm that there were one or two positions in his squad that could be strengthened this month should the right opportunity arise.
"There are some positions that, if we are able to find the right solution, it is important to take that solution," he was quoted as saying by the BBC. "This championship is long. Also, I know the difficulty of the market and finding the right player. But we are talking about this."
When asked about Rodriguez and Vidal, he added: "I answer always in the same way – that I don't like to speak about players that are playing with other teams. It is about respect for the players and the clubs."
Diego Costa, currently the Premier League's top scorer with 14 goals this term, made headlines earlier this week by revealing that he did indeed come close to rejoining Atletico Madrid during the summer. However, the Spain international made it clear that he only wanted to leave due to family reasons and Conte, who insisted there was no news regarding the potential exit of long-serving midfielder Mikel John Obi, has no concerns over his commitment to Chelsea moving forward.
"When Diego decided to stay, he said he wanted to fight for this club and for his shirt. I wasn't concerned. He is showing great patience in the right way, in every moment of the game. We are happy for this. He is completely focused on the game."