ANTONIO CONTE has told Chelsea: Keep spending or risk another title defence disaster.
The champions, looking to avoid a repeat of 2015, have already forked out a staggering £140million on summer buys.
But rivals Manchester City are ready to take their spending past £200m with the impending arrivals of full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Danilo.
And Blues boss Conte said: “It’s not easy in this market as you need crazy money. But we must improve the squad because it will be tough next season.
“Last campaign I utilised only 13 players regularly and we won the league and made the FA Cup final.”
Chelsea have snapped up Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and freebie Willy Caballero.
But Conte fears another title defence flop, like two years ago under Jose Mourinho, without more spending.
Speaking in his first newspaper interview since signing an improved two-year deal, Conte added: “I don’t spend money only to spend.
“But to face four competitions, we need more men.”
Conte is in the market for a centre-back and is tracking Virgil van Dijk’s situation at Southampton.
Juventus left-back Alex Sandro is wanted to bolster his flanks, while Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has also been linked with a move to the Blues.
Meanwhile, City are poised to spend £76m on Monaco’s Mendy and Real Madrid star Danilo to take their spending to £218m.
Etihad chiefs have agreed a fee of £49.3m for Mendy.
But City maintain the deal to sign Kyle Walker from Spurs earlier this month is a maximum of £50m.
Mendy will join his new team-mates for the final two matches of City’s US tour.
Danilo was last night putting the finishing touches to his £26.5m move.