Conte concerned over Chelsea transfer stalemate
Conte has been desperate to add quality and depth to a squad that went stale during their dismal title defence last year, but the Blues boss has so far managed to secure only three new recruits.
The Italian splashed out £33 million ($43 million, 38 million euros) on Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi and £30 million on Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante during the close-season before this week bringing in third choice goalkeeper Eduardo from Dinamo Zagreb.
That is a paltry spree compared to the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City, who have both spent well over £100 million, while even the notoriously spend-thrift Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appears to be loosening the purse strings as Wednesday’s transfer deadline approaches.
Conte would like one quality centre-back and a top-class striker, but Chelsea have been frustrated by the huge fees they have been quoted for the likes of Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli.
Fearing Chelsea won’t get any deals done in time, Conte on Friday made it clear he is worried his rebuilding project at Stamford Bridge will be undermined.
“It is important to have the right number of players in the squad. We know Chelsea is a great team and we must fight until the end for the title,” Conte told reporters.
“But also we know that last season we finished 10th, not fifth or sixth, 10th. It’s important not to forget this.”
“I hope to improve the squad with some new players in this transfer market because when you start a very tough league like England it is important to have many players to face this situation.
“I must be honest. I think we have a problem to reach our targets. The market is very crazy.
“I believe we can do it, but with this market it is very difficult. I have some targets but these targets are difficult to buy.”
– Up to speed –
For now, Conte has to focus on preparing the players at his disposal for Saturday’s home game against Burnley as Chelsea look to extend their 100 percent record under their new boss.
With Premier League wins over West Ham and Watford and a English Football League Cup success against Bristol Rovers, Conte has hit the ground running.
But the former Juventus and Italy coach knows there is still plenty of work to do before Chelsea are up to speed.
“I’ve been working with these players for only 40 days,” he said. “We played three games and we won all of them.
“I’m pleased to start the season in this way to take more confidence after last season.
“But I know, and I told my players, we can improve a lot.”
With that in mind, Conte was quick to warn his players of the dangers posed by Burnley, who enjoyed a shock win over Liverpool last weekend.
“I watched the performance against Liverpool, it was fantastic, their physical aspect put a great pressure on Liverpool for 90 minutes,” Conte said.
“People pay attention to possession and say you don’t win without the ball, but Burnley had only 25 percent possession and Liverpool had 75, yet the result was 2-0 to Burnley.
“For this reason I told my players to pay a lot of attention because it will be a very tough match. We have to be together.
“The English league every game is very tough. Every game you must face with great attention and understand if you don’t have the right attention anything can happen. ”