Antonio Conte has revealed Liverpool’s spending power proved too much for Chelsea in the pursuit of Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutch centre-back joined the Reds from Southampton for a world record £75m fee for a defender this month.
The Italian admits the champions wanted Van Dijk too, but armed with the incoming British record £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool’s spending proved too much.
“This is football. This is life,” Conte said. “For sure he was our target but as you know this is football.
“We can have a lot of targets but you must be able to reach those targets.
“The transfer market is not simple for any club. Liverpool bought Van Dijk to reinforce his defensive line, and I think Van Dijk is a top defender. And they spent €85million (£75million) for this player.
“At the same time, they sold very well (Philippe Coutinho) because when you sell a player for this amount of money, and then you have the rest of money to invest and to improve your team.
“But I think the transfer market is not simple, especially if there is this amount of money.
“It’s not simple, and Arsenal – I don’t know what happened but, I repeat, the best way to look at ourselves, to try to find the best solution for us is don’t look the other. But I have great respect for the other teams, for the other managers.
“Behind every operation there is a programme, there is a plan and I have great respect for every manager, every team.”