Antonio Conte admitted that he hopes Chelsea manage to agree contract extensions with Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard before next summer’s World Cup, and warned the rest of the Premier League that neither player has yet reached the peak of their powers.
Hazard capped another dominating performance with two goals as Chelsea beat Newcastle 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, while Courtois has lived up to his reputation as one of the world’s best goalkeepers since returning to the Blues from three years on loan at Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2014.
Both are the subject of significant interest from Real Madrid, and extending Courtois has become a matter of particular urgency for Chelsea after he revealed he is happy to delay talks until closer to next summer, when he will enter the final year of his current contract.
Asked if he would like to see Chelsea tie Courtois and Hazard to new deals before they depart to represent Belgium at the World Cup in Russia, Conte said: “For sure, if you ask me about these two players, I will be very happy when they can have these deals but I repeat, this is the responsibility of the club.
“I can give my opinion about these two players and, for me, they are two great players, especially because they have a lot of space for improvement. They are very young players and it will be great to keep them with us.