Antonio Conte’s capture of defender Davide Zappacosta was a vital signing for Chelsea given that Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso lack consistency.

That’s according to former Blues ace Pat Nevin, who says he expects the Stamford Bridge giants to recruit again come the January transfer window.

Conte moved to snare the services of Zappacosta and midfielder Danny Drinkwater on deadline day but lost out on the capture of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley.

And ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash at Leicester City, Drinkwater’s former club, on Saturday, Nevin said: “Some of the players Chelsea have are two in one. Drinkwater is a specialist but signing him, as well as Zappacosta, frees up other players.

“Victor Moses cannot play an entire season of 60 games at the same level, the same with Marcos Alonso, so Zappacosta was important.

“When you look at the squad it is still relatively small, but with a fair wind they are probably just about enough. With the couple of players they have brought in it looks much more comfortable.”

Nevin believes the Blues may still struggle up front in the absence of stay away Diego Costa but that boss Conte can cover the perceived  lack of firepower through tactical know how.

The Costa situation remains unresolved. Team-mate Eden Hazard has called for the Spain striker to end his self-imposed exile and come back into the fold.

He has been absent from the Blues since failing to report back for pre-season training in July and was left out of the club’s Champions League squad yesterday.

Costa wants to return to former club Atletico Madrid, but the Spanish club only offered half of the £50million Chelsea asked for to allow him to leave.

And Nevin added: “The signings have had no effect on centre-forward; that is the one area where I think they are a little light. But there is also the imagination of Conte with the formation and he can be very imaginative so Hazard or Pedro could play there, as well as Michy Batshuayi.”

“Robbing Peter to pay Paul depends on injuries and suspensions of course and maybe it’s a matter of needing a perfect storm. But it can happen again like it did last season. I would still say City and United are favourites.”

Have something to tell us about this article?