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Conte insists Chelsea missing top summer target a blessing in disguise

Antonio Conte feels Chelsea failing to sign Achraf Hakimi may be positive for the club in the long run as the defender is desperate to return to Real Madrid.

The Blues made no secret of their desire to bring the 22-year-old to Stamford Bridge during the summer. It was thought that the west Londoners were in pole position to land the talented full-back. But he eventually penned a five-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 giants flexed their financial muscles.

Hakimi was born in Madrid and came up through Real’s youth ranks. He made 17 appearances in all competitions during the 2017-2018 campaign but was then loaned to Borussia Dortmund.

The Morocco international spent the next two seasons with BVB, enhancing his reputation with 73 appearances. He joined Inter in the summer of 2020 and played under Conte last term as Inter claimed the Serie A title.

Both player and manager have now left the San Siro, with Conte quitting his post despite winning the Scudetto. It remains to be seen where he ends up next, with Todo Fichajes recently linking the Italian to Arsenal.

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He spent two seasons in charge of Chelsea, winning both the Premier League title and FA Cup. And the former Juventus chief has now given his verdict on Hakimi’s state of mind and his ultimate playing ambition.

“Psychologically, Hakimi suffered a little bit from last year’s games against Real Madrid,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “His dream is to play for that club again as a key player.”

Hakimi a positive missed target

Thomas Tuchel was keen to strengthen his full-back department in the off season. He had Hakimi as his number one target but could not get a deal over the line.

The man with 37 Morocco caps would have been someone to build the defence around for the next few years. But, if Conte’s comments are to be believed, he may not have hung around for that long.

The pull to play for Los Blancos is something that not many can resist. And that might have meant rebuilding at the back once again if he forced a move away.

The Stamford Bridge outfit still made great strides in the transfer market, with Romelu Lukaku back at the club. The Belgium international has scored four goals in as many games.

Three have come in the Premier League as Chelsea sit second in the standings level on 10 points with table-topping Manchester United.

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