Chelsea: The £54 Million Target Antonio Conte Missed

Antonio Conte
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte at National Stadium, Singapore, July 25. Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed he tried and failed to sign Kyle Walker who ended up joining Manchester City from Tottenham Hotspur for a reported £54 million (about $71 million).

In an interview published in various newspapers, including The Times, Conte spoke about how the cost of players was rising so much that Chelsea lost out on signing England right-back Walker.

"There are players and players," Conte said. "If you want Walker, you know that Walker is expensive. We tried to buy Walker."

The 27-year-old left Spurs for the Etihad Stadium two weeks ago, but Walker was only one of a number of Spurs players Conte admires, including Dele Alli.

The Italian coach also mentioned Walker and Alli's England colleague Harry Kane, who was the Premier League's top scorer last season.

"For me, Kane, now, is one of the best strikers in the world," Conte said. "If I had to buy one striker I would go to Kane, right. He is a complete striker. He is strong physically, with the ball, without the ball, he fights and he's strong in the air and acrobatic on the right and the left. He's a complete player.

"If you go to buy Kane now it would be at least £100 million. At least. For me, if I see this price for a striker I know for sure he's a big striker."

Related: Is this How Alvaro Morata Will Fit into Antonio Conte's New-Look Chelsea Team?

Instead, however, Chelsea signed Álvaro Morata from Real Madrid in a deal reported to be worth between £54 million and £70 million (between $71 million and $97 million). The Spanish striker is set to replace his compatriot Diego Costa, who has been told by Conte that he isn't wanted.

Morata, 24, made his first appearance for Chelsea in a 3-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in Singapore on Tuesday. He came on in the 64th minute and played a part in Chelsea's second goal, winning a corner and flicking on for Michy Batshuayi to tap in.

Morata's first competitive appearance could come on August 6 when Chelsea returns to Wembley Stadium to face Arsenal in the Community Shield.