Chelsea set to buy £24m Drogba

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Didier Drogba is on the verge of becoming Chelsea's biggest signing as a £24m deal was being thrashed out in Paris last night.

Didier Drogba is on the verge of becoming Chelsea's biggest signing as a £24m deal was being thrashed out in Paris last night.

Marseille are ready to sell the Ivory Coast striker after weeks of persistence from Chelsea's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, who flew to a meeting in the French capital yesterday.

Chelsea have been pursuing Drogba since the end of last season, and their spending power has seen off their rivals. Manchester United dropped out of the race after Real Madrid backed away from a bid for their own Dutch striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The new Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, is happy with the Drogba move after seeing him torment his old side Porto in the Champions' League last year. Marseille are reluctant sellers, but they have failed to move out any other players this summer.

Drogba's price tag will put him above Damien Duff as the biggest buy in the club's history. Abramovich still has funds for two or three more captures.

Edgar Davids, whom Mourinho described on Monday as "too small" for his purposes, has signed a three-year deal with Internazionale, according to reports in Italy. Davids, 31, played for Juventus from 1997 to the middle of last season, when he was loaned out to Barcelona.

The Portugal midfielder Deco, who had been tipped to follow Mourinho from Porto to Chelsea, passed his medical at Barcelona yesterday. The Spanish side have paid £8m plus Ricardo Quaresma for the Brazilian-born playmaker.

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