Antonio Conte has defended his transfer policy (Picture: Getty)

Antonio Conte has been forced to defend his Chelsea transfer policy after replacing homegrown youngster Nathaniel Chalobah with the £40million signing of Tiemoue Bakayoko.

The Blues have long been criticised for favouring big-name and big-money transfers over promoting their own youth talent, and the purchase of Bakayoko whilst selling Chalobah looks to be the latest example.

Antonio Conte instructs Chelsea to raid Premier League rivals for £80m-rated England duo

Chalobah, 22, played 15 games for Chelsea last season but struggled to hold down a regular place in the side before a £5m move to Watford this summer.

Conte, however, insists that Bakayoko is a major upgrade given his experience of winning major honours and competing in the biggest competitions such as the Champions League.

Tiemoue Bakayoko shone for Monaco last season (Picture: Getty)

We do it 💙💙💙 #FamilyTheMostImportant #NoMatterWhat #Bakayoko #TB14 #BakasBlue #StartedFromTheBottom

A post shared by Timoue Bakayoko 14 (@bakayoko_official14) on Jul 15, 2017 at 11:49am PDT

‘I think, honestly, at this moment there is a great difference between the two players,’ Conte said.

‘You are talking about one player who has played with Monaco, who has maybe 100 appearances for that club.

‘He has played in the Champions League and has played regularly.

‘Try to understand the difference before you judge. People who do, do not understand the difference.’

Nathaniel Chalobah was offloaded to Watford (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea's pre-season fixtures

Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal
Chelsea 2-3 Bayern Munich
July 29 – Inter Milan (Singapore – International Champions Cup)
Aug 6 – Arsenal (Wembley – Community Shield)

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Chelsea have also offloaded Nathan Ake to Bournemouth whilst loaning out Kurt Zouma to Stoke City, with £34m signing Antonio Rudiger replacing them in defence.

In a summer of big change at Stamford Bridge, Alvaro Morata has also come in for a club-record £60m from Real Madrid, with Diego Costa expected to make way.

Nemanja Matic could also make way in midfield following the addition of Bakyoko, with Manchester United thought to be leading the chase for the Serbian’s signature.

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