Guus Hiddink backs Antonio Conte to lure stars to Chelsea

Photo credit: AFP

Photo credit: AFP

Guus Hiddink insists incoming boss Antonio Conte will be able to attract top stars to Chelsea even without the lure of Champions League action.

Conte was this week confirmed as Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor and will take charge at Stamford Bridge after Italy’s Euro 2016 campaign comes to a conclusion.

The Italian will arrive to find Chelsea absent from Europe’s elite club competition after a miserable campaign, which sees them 10th in the Premier League ahead of this weekend’s trip to Swansea.

However, Chelsea interim manager Hiddink maintains Conte’s presence can ensure the club keep their best talent and attract key signings needed to restore them to the level of title contenders.

“The CV of a manager can also attract players,” Hiddink told reporters on Friday.

“He’s showing he wants to come here, knowing Chelsea will not play Champions League next year.

“Coming in is showing that commitment, that might attract players.”

Conte is likely to have a major say over whether John Terry will stay at Stamford Bridge next season.

The 35-year-old is out of contract this summer and revealed in January he would be leaving the Blues, who maintain the offer of a new one-year deal could be forthcoming.

“That’s an extra complication,” added Hiddink, who is in his second caretaker spell at Chelsea.

“When I came here, going back in history, in 2009 there was also this transition, but at that time the team was firm regarding the personalities.

“There were players who knew the culture of English football, but especially the culture of the club, like (Frank) Lampard, John Terry, (Michael) Ballack, (Michael) Essien, (Didier) Drogba.

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“Now it’s a bit different, and it’s not easy. But they’re well aware and full of brightness and energy to get it restored.”

Hiddink spoke to Conte, who won the Serie A title three times with Juventus, on Tuesday when the Italian visited Chelsea’s Cobham training base to meet the players.

“I had a short meeting with him about general things,” Hiddink said. “It’s always a big job, regardless (of) the circumstances Chelsea has been in this year.

“He is equipped and he is able and he’s used to the pressure at big clubs to win titles.

“If needed I’m available for the club. This is a club which I love very much.”

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