Radja Nainggolan has revealed that Antonio Conte wanted to sign him for Chelsea “at all costs” during his time in charge at Stamford Bridge. Nainggolan was a top player in his prime, lifting the Serie A title in 2021 and being in the Serie A Team of the Year for four seasons from 2014/15 to 2017/18.
Conte was only at Chelsea from 2016 to 2018, so he tried to sign Nainggolan while he was at Roma, a time that was arguably the peak of his career. However, a move failed to materialize for Chelsea. Nainggolan said that he had more fun with Spalletti than with anyone else and that Conte was also good.
However, it is strange to hear that Conte desperately wanted Nainggolan between 2016 to 2018, but decided to freeze him out when their paths crossed at Inter Milan just a couple of years later.
Chelsea did alright without Nainggolan, and it is unclear how he would have fit in under Conte’s 3-4-2-1 formation. Nainggolan could have played as an attacking midfielder in one of the two available spots, but Conte provided enough depth with Pedro, Eden Hazard, and Willian.