The Chelsea chief executive, Peter Kenyon, has confirmed the club have been offered the chance to sign the Bayern Munich midfielder Michael Ballack.
Kenyon told the Bayern chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, that Ballack's agent had approached the Premiership champions with a view to sounding out their interest in the 29-year-old German international.
Ballack's future is now uncertain after the club withdrew their contract offer. The midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season but Manchester United have ruled themselves out of the running for his signature.
Internazionale and Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the playmaking although Bayern have not yet given up on persuading him to remain.
However, Rummenigge revealed that Kenyon and the Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, had informed him of the approaches from Ballack's agent.
"Ballack has been offered to Real Madrid and Chelsea," admitted Rummenigge. "I have a good friendship with Florentino Perez of Real Madrid and with Peter Kenyon of Chelsea, and both have informed me of everything that has happened."
Chelsea's Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has given the Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, a boost by returning to training. Fears he would be out of action with a rib injury for this weekend's home match with Middlesbrough - along with Didier Drogba - proved to be unfounded. Mourinho is now waiting to see if Drogba, who injured a knee on international duty will also be fit enough to be included in the squad. If he fails to recover then the England Under-21 international Carlton Cole will take his place on the substitutes' bench.Reuse content