Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte revealed his frustrations at a “crazy” transfer market, which has threatened to break the record for most expensive deal of all time.
Gareth Bale’s €100million move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013 ranks as the most expensive transfer in football history, but Manchester United are reportedly prepared to break that in order to sign Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
Reports suggest United have submitted a bid of around €120m to Conte’s former club for Pogba, while the Serie A side have already completed the third-highest transfer of all time this window with the €90m signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Italian rivals Napoli.
Five other deals in 2016 – Hulk to Shanghai SIPG (€55.8m), Alex Teixeira to Jiangsu Suning (€50m), Granit Xhaka to Arsenal (€42.3m), Jackson Martinez to Guangzhou Evergrande (€42m) and Sadio Mane to Liverpool (€41m) – also made it into the top-50 most expensive transfers.
Conte says the money being thrown around makes it difficult to sign certain players, but insists Chelsea will not spend for the sake of spending.
“This season we are seeing a crazy market. It’s incredible,” the Italian said.
“I don’t know if this situation can continue. It’s very difficult for all the teams to try and buy the players. Now, we are starting to speak about 100 million, 120 million, 95 million, and these prices are incredible.”
He added: “But this is football now. It’s important that we must maintain the passion. This is the most important thing, to transfer our passion and transfer it to fans and players.
“The money is important but not everything. It is important for the clubs to reach the right targets not to spend because we want to spend money. It’s right to take the player and adapt to our idea of football.”