Chelsea steal in for Carson

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The Independent Online

Chelsea look set to make their second signing of the January transfer window this week when they acquire Leeds' England Under-21 goalkeeper Scott Carson for around £750,000 despite opposition from Liverpool.

Chelsea look set to make their second signing of the January transfer window this week when they acquire Leeds' England Under-21 goalkeeper Scott Carson for around £750,000 despite opposition from Liverpool.

The 19-year-old, who has not played a game this season, has already visited Chelsea's new Surrey training ground this week and met with their coach Jose Mourinho. The deal is expected to be sealed today when Leeds agree a fee for the player with Chelsea which should rise to £750,000 depending on appearances.

The goalkeeper has rejected a second offer of a new contract from Leeds who are desperate to sell him before his current deal expires in the summer. Carson has been denied a first-team place at Elland Road by the performances of the veteran Neil Sullivan but has established himself as the first-choice England Under-21 goalkeeper with eight caps.

A Leeds academy product, Carson has also attracted serious interest from Liverpool. Representatives of Leeds visited Anfield yesterday but Liverpool's chief executive Rick Parry looks as if he will be unable to match any offer from Chelsea after having a £250,000 deal rejected earlier in the month.

Carson would have served as Jerzy Dudek's No 2 at Liverpool and then Chris Kirkland's when he recovers from injury. Dudek would have been moved out in the summer had Carson joined.

The 19-year-old played for Leeds at Stamford Bridge in May and put in an outstanding performance. Chelsea have already paid £5m for the midfielder Jiri Jarosik this month.

Although Championship side Wigan were the only other club to bid for the player, Manchester United were reported to be interested. The cash payment from Chelsea, which is likely to be in the region of £500,000 will help alleviate immediate problems at Leeds who are understood to be struggling to meet their January wage bill.

The acquisition of Carson could also mean a move for Chelsea's current No 2 goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, whose Italian agent Federico Pastorello was at Stamford Bridge last night. Cudicini is likely to move if Carson supplants him.

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