Antonio Conte admits that Chelsea failed to sign Alexis Sanchez because they couldn’t match the financial might of the two Manchester Clubs.
Manchester United – who faced competition from Manchester City to sign the Chilean - finally completed the long-awaited move for Sanchez in a deal which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Conte has claimed Chelsea were never in the race to sign Sanchez - despite declaring an interest last summer - because they couldn’t compete with the wages on offer from Man Utd.
The former Italy manager claimed that the amount of salary on demand was a pivotal reason as to why Chelsea weren't able to get close to either of the Manchester Clubs in gaining the Chilean’s signature.
"We never were in this race. Ever. Especially because, I repeat, one of the reasons was this amount of salary," said Conte (via Sky Sports).
He added: "Only one or two clubs can pay this type of salary. Manchester United and Manchester City stay there and we have to try and build something important to create a basis, and then make success with our work. Not with money. With work.
"What happened [at Chelsea] three years, 10 years or eight years ago was totally different. Now I think that we have to fight. We have to fight with our work. Last season we won the league and finished with £50million plus [profit on transfers]. No one says this. In the past, this had never happened. For this reason, the situation changed.
"Now I think Manchester United and Manchester City stay there and we have to try and build something important to create a basis, and then make success with our work. Not with money. With work. Now it's not simple to think about doing this [finishing above them] because these big teams continue to improve and invest a lot of money."
Conte is hoping to secure the signatures of Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri from Roma for an initial £44m, as they look to improve their options in attack and defence respectively.
Chelsea will go head to head with Arsenal Wednesday for a place in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City.
They will be hoping that they can build on the 4-0 win against Brighton on the weekend as Conte's team experienced a frustrating start to the new year scoring one goal in four games.