Benayoun set for £5.5m Chelsea move as Mutu row rumbles on

Chelsea were last night close to agreeing a £5.5m deal with Liverpool to sign midfielder Yossi Benayoun as replacement for Joe Cole. The Double-winners, who last week announced they would let Cole and Michael Ballack leave on free transfers, hope to confirm the signing of Benayoun by the end of the week.

On the face of it, the move is a puzzling one. Benayoun, 30, is two years older than Cole, and has failed to cement a regular first-team place at a Liverpool side that finished seventh last season. Yet Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti clearly believes the Israeli international is a better bet in Chelsea's midfield next season. Benayoun has verbally agreed terms on a four-year deal worth around £55,000 a week, and is due to have a medical at the club's training ground later this week.

The news comes on the day Chelsea won another victory in their fight to sue their former striker Adrian Mutu for £14.3m, although the Romanian international is not giving up yet. Mutu will continue to contest Chelsea's attempts to claim compensation after he tested positive for cocaine 2004, despite the latest setback when the Swiss Federal Court ruled in the Premier League club's favour.

Reports from Romania yesterday claimed Mutu's agent, Victor Becali, is looking into taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights. However the player's cause is looking increasingly to be a losing one, after yesterday's judgement in Switzerland that ruled the striker must pay Chelsea the full sum in compensation.

Mutu, 31, who is currently on holiday in the Dominican Republic with his wife Consuelo Matos Gomez, a Dominican model, has been fighting a protracted legal battle with Chelsea ever since the Premier League club sacked him for taking cocaine in September 2004. Fifa, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and now the Swiss Federal Court have all found in Chelsea's favour, setting a remarkable precedent that could have far-reaching consequences for all sportsmen.

The ruling makes players directly responsible for maintaining the value of their transfer fee, which in Mutu's case was £15.8m in 2003, but for other players is worth far more, for instance Cristiano Ronaldo's world record £80m move from Manchester United to Real Madrid last summer. In the past, the size of the transfer fee was of little concern to the player, but the Mutu case has changed that.

Jamie Singer, a partner with sports law firm Onside Law, believes the case is unique. "It is a worrying development for players. It's certainly one hell of an incentive for players to behave themselves," he said. "There is now a link between the transfer fee and a player's liability. The value of the transfer fee is generally nothing to do with them but it is the market value of a player's registration. This ruling means players can be liable if, by their actions, they reduce that value."

Gordon Taylor, the chief executive the Professional Footballers' Association, is also concerned that Mutu is being held liable for the transfer fee that Chelsea paid to Parma. "I find it extremely bizarre bearing in mind that sum was what one club paid to another club, and not what the player received. He was banned from the game and that would normally be considered punishment in itself," Taylor said.

Mutu failed a routine FA drugs test at Chelsea's training ground in September 2004. Chelsea sacked him and he received a seven-month ban from football. When the suspension was up he resumed his career first at Juventus and then at Fiorentina.

Chelsea initially wanted £22.6m in damages, which reflected the £21m transfer fee they paid to Manchester City in June 2005 to sign Shaun Wright-Phillips as Mutu's replacement. Mutu defended himself by claiming Chelsea had singled him out for unfair action. Fifa ruled for Chelsea, and then when the CAS upheld Fifa's decision, Mutu claimed the CAS judges were not impartial. The Swiss Federal Court however did not agree. "This was not the case, therefore the appeal of the Romanian footballer was unfounded," it said yesterday.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
News
i100
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015