Chelsea's £34m deal for Shevchenko set to offer Gallas and Crespo to Milan

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The Independent Online

Chelsea officials were yesterday due to meet here, ahead of last night's Champions League final, with representatives from Milan to discuss the transfer of Andrei Shevchenko to Stamford Bridge with William Gallas possibly moving in the opposite direction.

At the same time the Premiership champions are a step closer to signing Roberto Carlos from Real Madrid which could signal Asier del Horno's exit from Chelsea after just one season.

Carlos, the 33-year-old Brazilian left-back said: "Nothing has been confirmed but I've been told that Chelsea want me." He has turned down lucrative offers from Qatar and the Turkish club Fenerbahce after being told he can leave Real who are seeking a fee of £4m.

The Spanish club, who are in turmoil ahead of their presidential elections and the appointment of a new coach, have long been interested in Del Horno who has endured a difficult time since he arrived in England last summer for £8m and has failed to impress the Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea are far more concerned over Gallas's future. However the 28-year-old has now dropped his threat to test new Fifa rules which appear to give a player who is in the final year of his contract, and who has been at a club for three years, the right to buy himself out. That would have cost Gallas around £5m but he accepts that taking such action, which clubs are suggesting may amount to another Bosman-style case, may damage his career and bring adverse publicity.

Gallas is, nevertheless, adamant that he wants to leave Chelsea and is urging them to agree a deal with Milan who head a host of clubs interested in him. He maintains that he will not sign the new four-year contract on offer from Chelsea and if they do not sell him then he will sit out the final 12 months of his present deal and leave for free next summer.

Chelsea have said they are prepared to let him do that as they are alarmed at how they will replace him. However they are desperate to land Shevchenko and would offer €50m (£33.8m) for the 29-year-old Ukrainian. They are also keen to include Hernan Crespo, who has been told he can leave and wants to return to Italy, as part of a deal.

Milan are lukewarm in their interest in the Argentinian and remain far more keen on Gallas. However it is not inconceivable that they may demand both players - plus cash - for Shevchenko who finally revealed last week that he wanted to leave the club and come to England.

The deals are, unsurprisingly, complicated. But they also signal a shift in Chelsea's transfer policy. Under Mourinho they have sought to sign team players and those who would fit into his style. Now they have shifted back to bigger names having already secured Michael Ballack on a three-year deal after agreeing a free transfer from Bayern Munich.

There are a number of other unsettled players at Chelsea - including Eidur Gudjohnsen, Wayne Bridge, Ricardo Carvalho and Carlton Cole - but Didier Drogba will not be leaving this summer. It was reported yesterday that the Ivorian striker was unhappy at his role and wanted to move to Italy but sources close to the player have dismissed such suggestions out of hand and say that although he has not really settled in England, he cannot see Chelsea selling him but has no intention of quitting the club.

Chelsea are also on the verge of two more signings. Feyenoord are understood to have agreed to sell their striker Salomon Kalou for £3m - although he will be loaned back to the club until he obtains a Dutch passport - while Chelsea are set to agree a two-year deal to sign Portuguese goalkeeper Hilario on a free transfer from Nacional. The 30-year-old, who worked with Mourinho before at Porto, would be third choice at the club, hastening the departure of Lenny Pidgeley.

l Swindon have confirmed that they are holding talks with the former Chelsea and England midfielder, Dennis Wise, who has also managed Millwall, Dennis Wise about becoming the club's new manager. The Robins are reviewing Iffy Onuora's position at the County Ground following their relegation from League One.

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