Head coach Antonio Conte does not think Chelsea are in the race to sign Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez is out of contract this summer and seemed certain to join Manchester City this month.

Alexis Sanchez's future is uncertainAlexis Sanchez’s future is uncertain (John Walton/EMPICS)

But the Premier League leaders on Monday evening decided to end their interest because of the costs involved, with Manchester United in pole position, while there were suggestions the Premier League champions were also in the running.

Conte last Friday spoke of his admiration for Sanchez and described any potential cut-priced deal for the Chile striker as a great opportunity.

The Italian was evasive when quizzed on Chelsea’s interest in the player, taking his usual stance in deferring matters of recruitment to the club.

Asked if Chelsea were actively seeking to sign Sanchez, Conte said: “I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t know, but I don’t think so.”

Conte, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup third-round replay at home to Norwich, was reluctant to discuss the transfer market.

“About the transfer market, I prefer to talk to the club, also to give opinions,” he added.

“I repeat: I don’t want to give my opinion about the transfer market.”

Michy Batshuayi has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge this month, with a loan to Sevilla a reported possibility.

Conte says the Belgium striker will play against the Canaries.

“Michy Batshuayi is Chelsea’s player. He’s in our squad and tomorrow he has to play,” Conte added.

“In the future I don’t know what happens, also because the final decision is for the club, not for me.”

Michy Batshuayi is expected to face NorwichChelsea’s Michy Batshuayi is expected to face Norwich despite being linked with a move (Joe Giddens/PA Wire)

Conte repeated his role is to coach, not in recruitment, which is the responsibility of the Chelsea hierarchy, notably director Marina Granovskaia.

“I’m very happy to work with my players,” he added.

“We’re working very well, we’re working very hard to try to build something important for this club. This is my first task.

“Then if someone asks me my opinion about the situation, if we can improve or not, I can give my opinion.”

Chelsea have not won in 2018, drawing their last four games, including three straight goalless draws.

The Italian reckons Chelsea’s luck will soon change.

He added: “We have to continue to work and maybe, then the game will arrive that you score a lot of goals. You shoot and you score, you shoot and you score.

“Now we are shooting 25 times in one game and not scoring. Maybe in one game you shoot once, twice and then you have score one, two goals.”

Conte plans to rotate his options again, but Ross Barkley is ineligible as he was not signed from Everton by the required registration deadline to play in the original tie at Carrow Road on January.

Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas are out with hamstring injuries, but should both be back in the near future.

“We are making many rotations like the first game. At the same time we want to go to the next round,” Conte added.