Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted the Blues face fierce competition from their Premier League rivals to sign the top players. The West London club once dominated the transfer market in the UK, but Conte has conceded the landscape has changed in recent seasons.
The likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool have already spent big this summer, and Conte has conceded the level of competition to sign players is greater than ever before. "Many strong teams can put money to buy good players," he said, according to The Times.
The club have been linked with Manchester United target Leonardo Bonucci from Conte's former club Juventus, as well as Everton's Romelu Lukaku, for whom they are said to be preparing a British record £68m ($89.5m) offer.
Chelsea finished tenth last season, their lowest placing in 20 years, but the Italian is confident they will perform better during the upcoming campaign. "Tenth is not good, it means problems," the new Chelsea boss confessed.
"Don't forget the past as it teaches a lot. Think of the present. We are ready to fight, come back and win the title but these are just words. Action is important. The situation is not easy and it's important to understand this."
This season will also see Conte renew his rivalry with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who joined Manchester United on a free transfer earlier this summer. Conte led Juventus to the Serie A crown in 2011/12 and in the process, ended the then-Milan striker's remarkable record of winning consecutive league titles.
"We started as underdog and the press had us down to finish in sixth or seventh place," the Chelsea boss explained. "AC Milan had Zlatan Ibrahimovic and it was the only season that he didn't win the championship. I hope this season is the same!"
The record-breaking Swede has won 12 domestic titles in 14 seasons. However, Conte's Juventus team prevented the United striker from extending his barely believable record of success.