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Published: 22:19 | 16/7/16

Conte keen to keep Cuadrado


New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado will be part of his Premier League squad next season.

Cuadrado impressed Conte during his loan spell with Juventus last season, and the former Italy boss says the 28-year-old will be given the opportunity to fight for a first-team place at Stamford Bridge when he returns to training after a break following Colombia's Copa America campaign.

Cuadrado signed for the Blues from Fiorentina during the January 2015 transfer window but made just four starts before being allowed to return to Italy, where he helped La Vecchia Signora to a fifth successive title.

"He is a Chelsea player and I am waiting for him," Conte said.

"He must come back very soon. He is in our squad and I am very happy to have him.

"He is a player I wanted in Juventus and now he must come back and start to train with us.

"Yes, he is Chelsea’s player and he will stay with us. If something changes you will know."

Speaking after the Blues' 2-0 friendly defeat to Rapid Vienna at Allianz Stadion, Conte also confirmed that new £32m signing N'Golo Kante will be part of a two-man Chelsea midfield next season.

The Italian began the friendly in Vienna with Jon Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matic in central midfield, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek joining Diego Costa as a second striker, and Conte suggested that he will opt for a similar 4-4-2 formation in the Premier League next season.

"We identified [Kante] -- me and the club together," the 46-year-old said.

"I think that he can give a lot to Chelsea to enforce and so on. He's very important for us if we want to play with two central midfielders.

"He showed in last season he is able to play with another midfield. Also, I think with this player we reinforce our squad."

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