​Chelsea are still believed to be in the market for a centre-back after manager Antonio Conte admitted Virgil van Dijk was a target.

The Dutch defender ​joined Liverpool in a £75m deal from ​Southampton at the start of the month, amid reported interest from ​Manchester City and ​Chelsea.

And Conte has since revealed that they were beaten to Van Dijk's signature because of the extortionate fee that was eventually required.


“This is football,” Conte said - quoted by ​the ​Independent. “This is life. 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 £75million for this player.

“The same time, they sold very well Coutinho because when you sell a player for this amount of money, and then you have the rest of money to invest, to improve your team.

“But I think the transfer market is not simple, it’s not simple, especially if there is this amount of money. It’s not simple, and ​Arsenal, I don’t know what happen 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, from the other managers, because behind every operation there is a programme, is a plan and I have great respect for every manager, ever team.”

​Blues defender Andreas Christensen has been tied down to a new four-and-a-half-year contract, although Chelsea are likely to continue their search for another centre-back.