Mikel made a £140,000-per-week switch to Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA, having failed to establish a place in the Blues under the Italian manager.
Conte failed to field the midfielder since his return from competing in the Olympics where he captained Dream Team VI to a bronze-place finish.
Branislav Ivanovic also left halfway through the season to FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, while captain John Terry announced this week that he would be ending his 22-year engagement with the club after this season.
Speaking during Friday’s press conference ahead Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final clash versus Tottenham Hotspur, the manager revealed that Chelsea are preparing for life after the trio, but it has not been stress-free.
Conte says it is not easy to find replacements for the likes of Ivanovic, Mikel and Terry. That is why he speaks of building. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 21, 2017
A win for the Stamford Bridge giants against the Lilywhites at Wembley will see them face either Arsenal or Manchester City in the final – where they would be negotiating their eighth FA Cup diadem.
They also top the English Premier League log with 75 point from 32 games with four points ahead of closest challenger, Tottenham Hotspur.