Achraf Hakimi eventually signed for PSG for a reported fee of €60million but Antonio Conte’s new admission may reveal another reason why the Blues passed on the wing-back
Antonio Conte may have shed some light on Chelsea’s decision to snub signing Achraf Hakimi, claiming the world-class wing-back still “dreams” of a transfer to Real Madrid.
Conte led Inter Milan to the Scudetto in 2021, but due to the financial woes that gripped the club, felt his position was untenable and stepped down as boss.
The Italian has since worked as a pundit for Sky Sports Italia, where he revealed Hakimi – who this summer completed a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain – has aspirations to play for Los Blancos.
Conte told Sky Sports Italia: “Hakimi’s dream is to play for Real Madrid again.”
Hakimi was one of the players Inter let go this summer and at one point Chelsea were in pole position to secure the 22-year-old’s services.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was at the time looking to strengthen the right wing-back position at Stamford Bridge. But the Blues never made an official bid for the defender, despite talks of a player swap deal to bring the price down.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, had the right of first refusal when Hakimi went up for sale.
But the Spanish giants opted against bringing him back to where he developed as a youth player and had been since he was 11.
Hakimi joined PSG for a reported fee of €60million with €10million in add ons and has impressed so far this season, combining with World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe.
The Blues, meanwhile, snapped up Hakimi’s former teammate, Romelu Lukaku, for £97.5million.
The new Chelsea striker has made an immediate impact on his homecoming to London, scoring four goals in as many games.
Lukaku left Chelsea in 2014, but returned to the club this summer to follow in the footsteps of one of his heroes, Didier Drogba.
In Chelsea’s opening Champions League game against Russian team Zenit St Petersburg, Lukaku was the difference for the Blues.
His 69th-minute goal separated the two teams and highlighted the cutting edge that Chelsea lacked last season.
Thomas Tuchel praised his team for showing “commitment” against a good Zenit team.
He said: We have that spirit with Romelu, he loves Chelsea, he knows Chelsea, he knows what this club is all about and like I said he is not shy to speak out that he’s here to help with his goals.
“So it’s more than just talent that he brings, he brings the belief, he himself has the belief and that takes the pressure off other guys’ shoulders around him and has the personality not to be impatient or lose confidence.”