Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has admitted that his side were beaten by Liverpool in the race to sign Virgil Van Dijk.
Following months of speculation surrounding his future, the 26-year-old joined the Reds this month in a £75 million move and this is now the record amount paid for a defender.
The Netherlands international started off life at Anfield on a good note by scoring the winning goal for his club during their FA Cup victory over Everton on Friday.
Though Chelsea recently signed Ross Barkley from Everton, Conte has admitted that Van Dijk is a player who he wanted to sign.
“This is football. This is life,” Conte said in response to missing out on Van Dijk. “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 85 million euros 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 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, 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.”