Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has rued the club’s failure to sign both Virgil van Dijk and Romelu Lukaku during his time in charge.
The now-Inter Milan manager spent two years at Stamford Bridge between 2016-2018, winning the Premier League in his first season and the FA Cup in his second.
But Conte believes his Blues side could have gone on to dominate English football for some time if the powers-that-be had managed to land the two players he requested after they won the title.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Conte said: “I asked for two players and we were very, very close after we won the league.
“One player was Romelu Lukaku, the second player was Virgil van Dijk, and these two players were very, very close.
“We were in contact every day and I always said that with these two players we would improve my team by 30 per cent.
“I think maybe we lost the momentum to bring Chelsea at the very top and then to stay for many years.
“It was a pity that it didn’t happen and Romelu is showing with Inter that my idea was right and also Van Dijk has shown with Liverpool that my idea was right for the club.”
Lukaku ended up joining Manchester United from Everton, but struggled to make an impression at Old Trafford before Conte eventually got his man for Inter last year.
And he added: “For sure, it would have been a different story if I was the coach of Romelu.
“Romelu is an incredible player and he has a lot of space for improvement. In one year at Inter, he had a lot of improvement because he wants to learn and I think I am a teacher.
“But he can continue to improve to become one of the best strikers in the world.”