Antonio Conte has insisted Chelsea will not be held to ransom on transfer targets due to the over-inflated Premier League market.
The Chelsea boss has again branded the transfer market “crazy” as the rest of Europe tries to bleed as much money out of Premier League clubs, flush after the latest record TV rights deal.
Chelsea are rumoured to be close to bringing Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly to Stamford Bridge, but Conte’s frustrations suggest he is loath to pay the expected £60million asking price.
The Premier League’s record £8billion TV deal has left English clubs with more financial clout than ever before, but ex-Italy boss Conte is holding out for value-for-money transfer deals.
“At this moment it’s very difficult to buy because I think that also if you ask about a player of medium level it’s possible that you are asked for £50million,” said Conte.
“For this reason I said that this is a crazy, crazy market, because it’s very difficult to go into the market with this price, with this condition.
“And I’m not comfortable. I don’t like to pay a lot of money.
“If a player deserves us to pay money then it’s right, but for a medium player it’s right to pay the right price, not 20 or 30 million over.
“It’s not my money but I don’t like it all the same. I don’t find it right.
“For this reason we are waiting for the right situation. We must be patient and wait.
“And I repeat, not only for Chelsea but also for the other clubs it’s very difficult to pay a good market.”
Conte will come face to face with old sparring partner Walter Mazzarri for the first time in the Premier League on Saturday, as Chelsea travel to Watford.
The former Juventus boss has insisted there is no lingering bad blood with ex-Napoli manager Mazzarri.
Mazzarri had previously hinted that Conte had borrowed elements of his tactical approach when coaching Juventus.
That prompted a niggly denial from Conte, before Mazzarri battled to smooth things over with an explanation of his original comments.
“I saw (Mazzarri) in the managers’ meeting, and also Claudio Ranieri,” said Conte.
“I spoke with him about this new experience, this is a great challenge also for him. I saw him very focused about this experience.
“When we were in Italy and we fought for the title, Juventus against Napoli, yeah, but when you stay up and you are fighting for the title everyone fights for their club.
“But the relationship is very normal, I have great respect for him and his work. I think he’s a good manager.”
Asked if he will shake Mazzarri’s hand ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash, Conte said: “Yeah. I saw him during the meeting. We spoke with him and the assistant coach.”
Fiery striker Diego Costa was lucky to escape a red card for his crude challenge on West Ham goalkeeper Adrian on Monday night.
The Spain hitman then blasted the winning goal just a minute from time, before Conte defended his gritty forward’s actions.
Now Conte has insisted he does not feel Costa needs to curb his passionate edge.
“We all know Diego, and Diego is a passionate footballer,” said Conte.
“Sometimes that can seem that he’s always on the edge when he plays, but I think that Diego is a good guy, a good player and he puts his passion in the football when he plays.
“I’m happy for his attitude, for his behaviour.
“Sometimes when many players talk about one player it’s very difficult for the player to play relaxed.
“Because you know that you always stay the centre of attention. H e must pay attention in all situations, but we are happy for his attitude.”