Chelsea have suggested that they would be prepared to pay £60m to bring Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s acting chief executive Paul Smith confirmed Chelsea’s interest in the prolific Dutch striker.

“If Pele was on the market today for £100m then we’d maybe go for him, but we won’t pay £30m for Joe Nobody,” he told the Evening Standard.

“If Van Nistelrooy was priced at £60m and we considered it a good investment, then we would probably pay that.

“We do care about the money and it’s a misconception that we don’t. There’s not a finite budget but we want to get good value.

“Roman is a businessman and is determined not to get ripped off. We won’t pay the tourist price.”

However, Smith also revealed that the club’s priorities were to sign a central defender and a midfielder.

“We’re looking to strengthen as Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele are looking a bit tired,” he added.

“If Emmanuel Petit and Juan Sebastian Veron were fit there wouldn’t be a problem and we need to know when they’ll be back.

“We also like (defender) Roberto Ayala and had a look at him but unfortunately he’s cup-tied after playing in the UEFA Cup.

“We want players who are available for our Champions League campaign.”