Chelsea failed in a bid to sign Radja Nainggolan, Blues boss Antonio Conte has admitted for the first time.
The Blues were linked with a move for the Belgium midfielder when Conte first took charge at Stamford Bridge, and it was claimed at the time that Chelsea saw a £45million bid for his services rejected.
Chelsea face Roma in Wednesday night’s Champions League clash at Stamford Bridge and the Blues will see at first hand what they missed out on.
Discussing his interesting in Nainggolan, Conte admitted: “I think it is not right to speak about players of the other team. In the past we tried to buy him, but now Nainggolan is a Roma player and I have great respect for him and Roma and for my players.
“He is a really good players, for me one of the best midfielders but he is an opponent.”
Conte was then asked which Roma player he would sign if given the chance, but again the Italian was keeping cagey.
“It is difficult to answer that, it is a group. There are three players I know very well, as I know their heart, and if I can steal their heart then we are doing very well. ”
One of those players Conte knows well is Roma skipper Daniele De Rossi, having bossed him during his time in charge of the national side.
“I have a great appreciation for De Rossi and I get goosebumps when I think about the national team success,” the former Juventus manager continued. “He is a great man and a great player and I am happy to see them tomorrow.”