The Brazilian striker Kaka has opened informal talks with a view to moving to Chelsea, The Independent understands. Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, and his advisers believe the player can be bought from Milan for between £60m and £70m.
It is understood that the talks to bring Carlo Ancelotti from Milan – he was formally announced as Chelsea manager yesterday – involved discussions between Adriano Galliani, the Milan vice-president, and Chelsea's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, about Kaka. Milan's agreement to release Ancelotti from the final year of his contract was dependent upon Chelsea bidding a certain price for the player.
Kaka's wages would break the Chelsea pay structure, at the top of which are John Terry and Frank Lampard on £135,000 a week. However, Abramovich and his chief aide and club director, Eugene Tenenbaum, believe that they will have the support of Chelsea's two most famous players to sign Kaka on wages of around £150,000 because of Lampard and Terry's ambition to win the Premier League and the Champions League.
The signing of Kaka will be an enormous undertaking, which is why the Chelsea hierarchy have endeavoured to keep it as secret as possible. Terry himself was out of the loop when he gave an interview after Saturday's FA Cup final in which he recommended the club sign Franck Ribéry and David Villa, unaware that Chelsea's efforts were focused on a move for Kaka.
Although the fee will be a world record for a player, it is expected to be much less than the £91m that Manchester City offered in January which the player himself rejected. However, the debts of Milan, which are around £60m, make Chelsea's offer much more realistic, especially as Kaka is amenable to a move to London.
As well as Kaka, Abramovich's plan is to rebuild the English contingent within the team. Ideally, he would like to bring Glen Johnson back to the club from Portsmouth – the England right-back was his first signing when he bought Chelsea in the summer of 2003. The Middlesbrough reserve goalkeeper Ross Turnbull, who was briefly the club's first choice this season, is another element of that plan.
Galliani admitted yesterday that Milan would probably be forced to sell Kaka this summer because Milan – like the rest of Italian football – cannot compete with the wages on offer in England and Spain. "We have had requests for Kaka and [Alexandre] Pato from two of Europe's biggest clubs and we will try and resist the assault from these European clubs who have more money than us," Galliani said. "But there is an uneven playing field.
"The problem with Kaka and Pato is a bigger issue. You can discover any player you like, but if you cannot pay them the wages of a big club then they go. That was the case with Cristiano Ronaldo with Sporting Lisbon and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Ajax. They had to move on.
"At the risk of sounding boring, if we continue like this in Italy, we will become a small league. But the fact other clubs are so interested in our players proves that we were right to sign them."
There is competition for Kaka from Real Madrid and the incoming president Florentino Perez has identified the player as one of his three major targets for the summer. However, Abramovich has been given the encouragement that Ancelotti's presence will tip the deal in his favour.
Signing Kaka would be the first time that Abramovich has bought one of the world's recognised leading players since he bought Andrei Shevchenko from Milan in the summer of 2006, along with Michael Ballack on a free transfer from Bayern Munich. This time the plan is to bring in just one of the most sought after players in the world at an age – Kaka is 27 years old – at which Chelsea still feel that they can get the best out of him.
Abramovich's anxiety about spending so much money on Kaka has been offset by appointing the Brazilian's manager of the last six years, Ancelotti. As detailed in Ancelotti's recent autobiography, the Russian billionaire was continually seeking opinions on why Shevchenko's performances were so disappointing. He feels that with Ancelotti on board as well as Kaka, there is a greater chance that his investment will perform.
Ancelotti gave his first interview last night to Chelsea's in-house television station, saying that he knew the club expected him to win all four major trophies. Speaking in English for what he claimed was the first time in an interview, Ancelotti told Chelsea TV: "At Chelsea it's easy to find objectives. Win the Champions League, win the Premier League, win the FA Cup, win the Carling Cup. To win all is naturally not easy, but the right way is to create a group of people that work well together.
"I want to bring my experience, I want to bring my individual quality. I think to win is important. I think to work together is the most important thing to win. To have great motivation and have the right objectives."
The negotiations for Ancelotti's assistant Filippo Galli are well advanced and he should also be in place within the next few weeks. Unlike the previous Chelsea regimes of Jose Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari, Ancelotti will not be bringing an entourage of coaches and assistants. He will work with Galli, formerly a player at Watford, and Ray Wilkins, the current assistant first-team coach, who played against Ancelotti in Italy.Reuse content