Roman Abramovich is making a personal attempt to bring the Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko to Chelsea.
The club's Russian owner has gone direct to Milan with an offer of around £20m for the Ukrainian, whose 24 goals in 24 league games were instrumental in taking Milan to the Serie A title this season.
Abramovich's plan is to cut out the various middlemen who would be involved in the deal by going straight to the Milan president with an offer. The oil tycoon has become increasingly impatient with deals breaking down because of agents trying to take too big a cut.
Abramovich knows that Shevchenko, who at 27 is probably at the peak of his career, will cost a lot, but feels he will be able to trim the figures with his do-it-yourself approach.
Chelsea have three current bids for strikers, with Marseille's Didier Drogba and Juventus's David Trezeguet also in their sights. There is every chance that Abramovich will land at least two of those as he revamps the attack, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink definitely on his way out and both Hernan Crespo and Adrian Mutu looking vulnerable. Abramovich will have to deal with Shevchenko's advisers at some stage, but he hopes to save around £1m by picking up the phone himself .
While Shevchenko may be on his way in, Joe Cole may be on his way out. The Everton manager David Moyes is interested in taking the England midfielder to Goodison Park on loan.
Given the expected fresh round of squad strengthening from Abramovich, Cole is likely to be on the fringes of the Chelsea squad again next season. The former West Ham player yesterday said he wants to establish himself at Stamford Bridge and on the international scene, but Moyes made it clear he would take Cole on loan if the chance arises.
"He is one of several players I'm interested in bringing in on loan as this may be the market we have to work in," the Scot said. Cole is hoping to make a big impact on Euro 2004 after being included in Sven Goran Eriksson's provisional 23-man squad.
"I want to go out there and give everything," he said. "Like I've shown when I've played for England before, if I get the opportunity, I won't let them down.
"I've enjoyed my time at Chelsea, I've broken into the team now and I want to stay and establish myself both for Chelsea and England.
"You've got to be mentally tough as a player because there's so many people out there trying to knock you or hold you back. The thing I've really learnt is the one person that really matters is yourself and how you do."Reuse content