Antonio Conte says Tottenham are at a disadvantage this season because they are unable to spend the same sums of money on signings as their rivals and need three transfer windows before they can compete.
Tottenham, who were praised for getting their business done early this summer, ranked fourth (£172m) in the Premier League spending table behind Chelsea (£278.4m),
Manchester United (£227.4m) and West Ham (£179.2m).
But Conte says not enough was invested in proven players compared to their rivals for Spurs to be considered contenders this season.
Asked if his side were at an advantage for completing most of their signings before their pre-season tour, he said: “If you sign a player £80m or £100m on the last day you have a big advantage because it means you are signing a top player.
“You can sign players also for free or on loan, and it is a different situation. I want to be very clear on that.
“I think we did what we could do and in the right time because the vision was very clear about the money to spend, about getting the free players or on loan because then we spend money on two players, Richarlison and Yves Bissouma, and other players on loan or also for free.”
‘There’s too much distance between Spurs and rivals’
Conte says Spurs are progressing well within the constraints of the current budget, but admits they face an uphill task of keeping up with their rivals.
“I see the other squads of the top teams and there is too much distance,” he said ahead of the visit of Fulham on Saturday.
“To be competitive and to fight to be a title contender and to try to get a place in Champions League you need at least three transfer windows more to improve and to be in the same level as the other clubs.”
He added: “I’m sure that we are going in the right way for the capacity of the club at this moment to invest money. We have to be realistic to understand that there are different clubs who can invest different money and other clubs that can invest normal money. For sure, the path is hard because of this aspect.
“We did the right things, but we have just started, if someone thinks we have completed the situation, we are very far from this.”
Conte on Spence: If you want to win, you need other signings
Spurs also spent a combined £35m on the signings of Djed Spence from Middlesbrough and Destiny Udogie from Udinese – the latter returning to Italy on loan to continue his development – with the view of securing two wing-backs for the future.
But Conte feels that while Spence is a “perfect prospect for Tottenham” if the club are to be competitive this season they need more investment in proven players.
“If you talk about being competitive and wanting to win, for sure you need other signings,” said Conte. “This has to be clear because otherwise we have confusion, and I want to be very clear on this aspect.”
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