Antonio Conte has said Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League will be damaged if they fail to make any more signings before the transfer window closes next week.
Conte is seeking to add to a squad that went stale during their dismal title defence last year, but the Chelsea manager has so far managed to secure only three new recruits.
Chelsea have spent £33 million (Dh160m) on Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi and £30m on Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante during the close-season before this week bringing in third choice goalkeeper Eduardo from Dinamo Zagreb.
That is modest spending compared to the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City, who have both spent well over £100m, 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 centre-back and another 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.
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Fearing Chelsea won’t get any deals done in time, Conte 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 said.
“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.”
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 per cent record under their new manager.
With Premier League wins over West Ham United and Watford and an English Football League Cup success against Bristol Rovers, Conte has hit the ground running.
But the former Juventus and Italy manager 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.”
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