Antonio Conte has revealed that Chelsea can no longer compete with their Premier League rivals Manchester United and Manchester City when it comes to signing top class players.
When quizzed about his club’s reported interest in Alexis Sanchez the Italian coach said:
“We never were in this race. Ever. Especially because one of the reasons was this amount of salary.
“Only one or two clubs can pay this type of salary.
“Manchester United and Manchester City stay there and we have to try and build something important to create a basis, and then make success with our work. Not with money. With work.
“We won the league and reached the FA Cup final and we finished with a profit of £50m in the transfer market.
“In the past, this had never happened.”
Conte’s admission that Chelsea are not prepared to match the financial packages their main rivals are offering to players, is something of a surprise when you consider the heavy spending the club has been used to, since Billionaire Oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the Stamford Bridge outfit in June 2003.
During the first decade of Abramovich’s reign The Blues were renowned for being one of Europe’s financial powerhouses. The Russian’s heavy investment meant Chelsea were able to attract the world’s best coaches and players and resulted in the club enjoying the most successful period in their history.
However, since the emergence of financial fair play rules which helps Man United, and the even wealthier owners of Man City and PSG from the Middle East, the Stamford Bridge club are clearly no longer top dogs when it comes to offering financial incentives to star players.
There seems to be a change in stance from Abramovich and his clubs board, who seem to want Chelsea to run as a self sufficient business these days, and the Russian no longer seems to be prepared to pump endless sums of money into the club to guarantee success.
The focus on buying and then selling players on at a huge profit in recent years also seems to be evidence of this. In this window for example, the clubs signing of Ross Barkley for a cut-price £15 million seems to be a good example, as even if the 24-year-old doesn’t do to well at Stamford Bridge they can probably sell him on at a profit in 18 months time, considering the current market.
It does however seem that Conte himself, judging by his recent comments, would probably have preferred to be in charge at Stamford Bridge when the ”money is no object,” transfer policy was in operation.