Chelsea not ruling out fresh Luka Modric bid
Andre Villas-Boas today refused to confirm whether Chelsea would heed Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy's demand for them to abandon their pursuit of Luka Modric.
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp yesterday revealed Levy had contacted the Blues to reiterate there was no chance of them signing the Croatian playmaker, urging them to "put an end" to one of the longest transfer sagas of the summer.
But Chelsea boss Villas-Boas would not be drawn on whether Levy's intervention was enough to deter him from making further bids for the 25-year-old before the transfer window closes next week.
He said: "I just have to speak to the owner (Roman Abramovich) when this kind of thing happens.
"When there's an offer, there's a counter-offer and then you reach an agreement."
He added: "Modric's name is already out too much in the press. Let's leave it.
"He's Harry Redknapp's player. He's not my player, unfortunately."
Whether it is Modric or someone else, Villas-Boas will continue his search for midfield reinforcements right up to the August 31 deadline.
He said: "It gets pretty frenetic in the last week of the market, and the reality is that, even yesterday, one of the biggest deals in the Premier League was done with (Samir) Nasri leaving Arsenal for Man City."
Villas-Boas is also in the market for a left-back to provide back-up and competition to Ashley Cole and confirmed today he had attempted a raid on former club Porto for Alvaro Pereira.
Uruguay star Pereira did not travel to Monaco with the Europa League-winners for Friday night's European Super Cup clash with Barcelona following what was a reported £16.6million bid from Chelsea.
Villas-Boas insisted he did not know why Pereira had been left at home but admitted the two clubs were "massively apart" in their valuations.
The Portuguese said he was "not very confident" of reaching an agreement for a player who was a key component of the Porto side the new Chelsea boss led to a quadruple last season, as well as the Uruguay team which lifted the Copa America and reached the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup.
Villas-Boas added: "He has tremendous influence in the Uruguayan international team.
"He beat the record twice for games played in Porto - not last year because he had a shoulder problem.
"He has the versatility as well. He can play on the inside in midfield, on the left of midfield or at left-back."
Versatility was also one quality that attracted Villas-Boas to new signing Juan Mata, who yesterday completed the formalities of his reported £24million move from Valencia.
It was Chelsea's first mega-money deal of a summer that had seen their transfer activity overshadowed by that of Manchester City, Manchester United and even Liverpool.
"Criticism was coming from all fronts at a lack of market activity, so you can lay off us now," Villas-Boas joked.
He added of Mata: "This will be one of the biggest challenges of his career coming to the Premier League, and this is a step up for him, as he's admitted."
Valencia's most productive player last season, Mata yesterday said he hoped to bring the best out of Spain team-mate Fernando Torres, who has proven something of a £50million misfit at Stamford Bridge so far.
But Villas-Boas said his signing was "nothing to do with that".
He added: "He's a fellow countryman (of Torres), but I don't even know if they get along or not."
Further arrivals would almost certainly trigger departures from Stamford Bridge, although Villas-Boas insisted he had no intention of letting Florent Malouda leave.
"As we are speaking about the number of goals and assists that Mata has made at Valencia, let's speak about the number that Malouda has made for Chelsea," said Villas-Boas, amid reports 31-year-old Malouda is a target for Juventus.
"We can't let ourselves sell talent of this quality."
Malouda scored the winner against West Brom on Saturday after losing his place in the starting XI and will be hoping that is enough for a recall against Norwich this weekend.
Villas-Boas said of tomorrow's opponents, who were runners-up in last season's npower Championship: "I cannot go in depth on Norwich last season, but I know they had a fantastic season."
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