He may have been turned down by some of Europe's best strikers this summer but Jose Mourinho will make use of the resources at his disposal this week when he tells the Argentina international Hernan Crespo that he wants him to come back to Chelsea.
The Premiership champions are also understood to be ready to make an official bid for Shaun Wright-Phillips who, with three years left on a four-year deal, will cost more than £20m to prise away from Manchester City. While City have still not received a bid for the 23-year-old, Milan confirmed yesterday that they fear they will not be able to continue their loan arrangement for Crespo next season.
The 30-year-old scored two goals for Milan in their European Cup final defeat by Liverpool and would have been integral to Carlo Ancelotti's plans next season but their deputy chief executive, Ariedo Braida, said yesterday that they feared they would lose him.
"Milan and Chelsea have an agreement for the renewal of the loan so either this comes into effect or he will not play next season," Braida said. "Chelsea are trying to convince him to stay in London."
Mourinho's hopes of signing an alternative striker to Didier Drogba have been dashed by failed pursuits of Internazionale's Adriano, Milan's Andrei Shevchenko, Samuel Eto'o of Barcelona and, most recently, David Trezeguet of Juventus. Chelsea have found themselves up against determined, protective club boards and there is frustration with the failure of the chief executive, Peter Kenyon to land an big international name.
The attempt to persuade Crespo to stay is unexpected, not least because Mourinho was unimpressed with the striker's failure to report to training when he took over at Stamford Bridge last summer. Crespo's wife, Alessia, is not believed to be particularly enamoured with London.
With Chelsea's options decreasing with every refusal - Mourinho wants his squad complete by the time they leave for their American tour on 18 July - Wright-Phillips becomes a more attractive option. The City chairman, John Wardle, admitted at the club's last AGM that they would have to consider a sensible offer for the player.
Another player considered by Chelsea has been Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres. Others on the list include Bayern Munich's Peruvian Claudio Pizarro and possibly Parma's Alberto Gilardino. He is highly coveted by Milan who have been quoted a price of around £18m by Parma.
While that has been dismissed by the Milan owner, Silvio Berlusconi, much depends on who takes over the club which was forced into a desperate financial situation last year by the collapse of their parent company, Parmalat. Should they be of a mind to sell then Milan will try to reduce the asking price, but they could yet face competition from Chelsea who will become increasingly desperate for a new striker if they fail to persuade Crespo to return.
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