Antonio Conte has dismissed speculation that Oscar could be leaving Chelsea in the New Year, insisting the midfielder remains an important part of his plans.
The Brazilian has dropped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge since the arrival of Conte, and was last selected to start in the 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool in September. Indeed, Oscar has featured just twice as a substitute since, as the progression of a new 3-4-3 formation has seen the Blues record five league wins in succession.
This has led to perhaps inevitable speculation that the playmaker could be on his way out of the club when the transfer window reopens in January, with Inter Milan said to be willing to offer him a route to Serie A. However, Conte has dismissed any hopes the Italian side may have, by insisting the 25-year-old remains an important part of his plans.
“Oscar’s future is Chelsea,” insists the former Juventus coach. “For me he is an important player in my squad. He is in good form. It is logical that I have to choose the starting XI every week but Oscar is a great player and, for me, he stays in Chelsea. It’s important send this message to all. He will stay with us because I consider him an important player.”
Oscar has been at Chelsea since they paid Internacional £20million for his services in 2012, and he has gone on to make over 200 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring 38 times. He remains under contract until the summer of 2019, by which time he will hope to have added to his trophy collection of a Premier League, League Cup, and UEFA Europa League.