Conte revealed in a press conference that Mikel has been nursing a minor injury (in addition to being away with Nigeria at the Olympics), but will be free to discuss moves with other clubs starting in January.
The Italian boss insisted that the club’s current focus is on their performances on the pitch, rather than opening negotiations with any of their players.
The 47-year-old told reporters: “ Now? Have I spoken to him now? No. No. No but, I repeat, now it’s important to be focused on the championship in this period.
“We are in November. It’s important to be focused on the pitch. Then, we can focus other situations in time. It’s normal in every squad, there are players who are towards the end of their contract, and they and the club together take a decision on their futures. ”
Mikel joined Chelsea for a £16m transfer fee in 2006.
The 29-year-old midfielder has amassed 373 appearances for the Blues since, winning 10 trophies in the process.