Chelsea add £8m Del Horno to ranks

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Chelsea last night completed their first signing of the summer when Asier del Horno, the highly-rated Spanish international left-back, joined from Athletic Bilbao for £8m.

Chelsea last night completed their first signing of the summer when Asier del Horno, the highly-rated Spanish international left-back, joined from Athletic Bilbao for £8m.

The widely-anticipated purchase means that Jose Mourinho has already strengthened one of the three positions he identified at the end of the season - along with centre-midfield and attack.

The Chelsea manager has already had a bid rejected for Lyon's centre-midfielder Michael Essien and could yet attempt to lure the Brazilian forward Adriano from Internazionale.

Del Horno, 24, will put pressure on the England international Wayne Bridge who missed much of last season with a broken ankle. Mourinho said: "Asier is an outstanding international player who will add quality to the squad in a position we needed to strengthen."

The arrival of Del Horno will also mean that William Gallas is left to compete for his favoured centre-back position along with John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Robert Huth. Del Horno will officially sign on 1 July and will make his debut against Milan in a friendly in Boston on 24 July.

Chelsea are also set to sign the Swiss prospect Jonas Elmer from Grass-hopper Zurich. The 17-year-old left-sided player was due to have a medical at Stamford Bridge yesterday and will join on a three-year deal.

Newcastle are considering a move for Luis Figo. Their manager, Graeme Souness, confirmed the club are interested in the Real Madrid 32-year-old winger, but Figo's wages, thought to be £4.6m a year, are a major stumbling block.

Newcastle - who yesterday appointed Glenn Roeder to manage their Academy - are continuing their efforts to offload Figo's Portuguese compatriot Hugo Viana, while Craig Bellamy is an Everton target.

Aston Villa yesterday dismissed speculation linking them with a move for Lee Bowyer, whose move to Birmingham fell through last week following opposition on a fans' website.

Birmingham's co-owner, David Sullivan, has revealed that Bowyer's fears over his personal safety were a major factor in his having rejected the move. Sullivan said that Bowyer, who was acquitted of all charges in relation to an attack on an Asian student in Leeds four years ago, had told him that he was fearful of an attack by Asians "ready to kick seven bells out of him".

Comments