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Selling young star in January would be a huge mistake, do you agree?

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has told striker Michy Batshuayi he is free to leave the club this month, according to reports from The Telegraph.

The Belgian striker – who was signed in the summer of 2016  from Marseille for a huge £33 million – has struggled to make his mark at Stamford Bridge amidst a lack of opportunities. The youngster played second fiddle to Diego Costa for much of last season, and again is now second choice behind Alvaro Morata, who was brought in as Costa’s replacement during the summer.

Now, with Batshuayi keen to make Belgium’s World Cup squad this summer, Antonio Conte has said he understands if he wishes to leave the club.

“I was a player, I will understand if someone is worried about the World Cup,” said Conte. “I understand it’s very important to keep players very happy to stay here to work with us and I think this must be our priority. To keep the players happy to stay with us, to continue to work with us. At the same time, I was a player and I will understand if someone is thinking in this way (that they need to play more).”

Despite his lack of game time, ‘Batsman’ – as he is affectionately known by the Chelsea fans – can feel hard done by that his Blues career may come to such an abrupt end.

Batshuayi was in fine form towards the end of last season in Diego Costa, and of course scored the goal at West Brom that handed Conte’s side the Premier League title in dramatic fashion. Such were his displays in the final five games of the season, the 23-year-old was tipped to be the natural successor to Costa.

However, in came Alvaro Morata. Not many will argue that Morata has not been an excellent addition for Chelsea – but when given the chance Batshauyi has still more than proven his worth. In seven starts this season, he has scored an impressive nine times and proven to be an excellent stand-in in Morata’s absence.

So why let him go? Doing so poses two dilemmas. Firstly, who then becomes the club’s second choice striker? With no other natural frontman amongst their ranks, the Blues are forced to either adopt Willian, Pedro or even Eden Hazard up-front, a solution that quite frankly, does not work. Secondly, Batshuayi is one of Europe’s most promising young strikers.

Chelsea made a similar mistake by letting Romelu Lukaku five years ago and rued their mistake, and doing so with Batshuayi will no doubt see history repeating itself.

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