Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has warned that if Manchester City were allowed to sign Southampton's Virgil van Dijk in January it could severely hinder the league's competitiveness.
Liverpool have been suitors of the Dutch international for sometime, but City have recently become the front runners for the defender's signature, after seeing injuries to key men John Stones and Vincent Kompany and are hopeful of completing a deal for the central defender during next month's winter transfer window.
As reported by Goal.com, Conte believes that such a transfer would be bad for his side and all the other title challengers, with the Citizens already setting numerous domestic records, looking irresistible in their form and style of play.
When asked about City's transfer plans, Conte said: "Every team, every club, must pay great attention because if a club like Manchester City takes all the best players, it will be very difficult for us to fight. Not only in England but in Europe.
"If they can do this, it is right for them to do this. We must pay great respect. When you have this opportunity to go in the market to spend a lot of money, I think it is right to do this.
"You must obviously be very good to spend your money in this way — sometimes you can spend a lot of money in a bad way. You must be clever to understand the positions, the roles you have to improve. In this case you must be very good.”
Meanwhile, Man City may have received a boost in their pursuit of the Dutchman as other reports claim long-term suitors Liverpool have started to investigate other defensive targets after being put off Van Dijk, due to Southampton's £70m valuation.