Chelsea last night confirmed that they are close to signing PSV Eindhoven's Dutch international forward Arjen Robben.
The news will come as a blow to Manchester United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who had upset PSV earlier in the season by inviting Robben to have a look round United's facilities and training ground in the hope of persuading him to sign for the club.
Chelsea revealed on their official club website last night that the 20-year-old was undergoing a medical with a view to completing the deal.
Reports in the Dutch media indicated that Robben, who joined PSV from Groningen in 2002, was expected to sign a five-year contract with Chelsea at a cost of ¤20million (£13.5m) but there was no confirmation of the details of the deal from either Chelsea or PSV.
Robben, who is contracted to PSV until 2007, told Dutch Teletext, in response to reports around Europe that he would be joining Chelsea in the summer, that he hoped a move to Stamford Bridge would assist his development as a player.
Robben, who plays on the left wing and is renowned for his pace, was delighted at the prospect of playing at Stamford Bridge, and said: "I think that I can become a better player at Chelsea and that I can develop myself into a top European player."
Robben scored his first international goal on his third appearance for his country in the Netherlands' last match, which was a 1-0 victory over the United States. It was that performance which attracted the attention of several leading European clubs.
* Collins John's transfer to Fulham is being investigated by the Dutch FA after it was alleged that his agent, Romeo Zondervan, is not properly registered with thw rodfl game's governing body, Fifa. The Dutch FA has opened an enquiry into the deal which took the Liberian-born striker to west London from Twente Enschede on a four-year deal during the winter transfer window.Reuse content