Alan Curbishley, the Charlton manager, yesterday attacked Scott Parker's attitude after the England midfielder finally achieved his aim of moving to Chelsea.
Charlton are insisting that they receive the Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen on loan in return for allowing Parker to go for a fee that will be a minimum of £10m and could rise to £12m. However, Gudjohnsen's wage demands may prove a problem.
Chelsea, who are expected to unveil Parker at a press conference today, had offered to extend Carlton Cole's season-long deal at The Valley for another 12 months but Curbishley made it clear that he would prefer the Icelandic international. He attempted to sign Gudjohnsen before he moved to Chelsea from Bolton Wanderers in 2000.
Curbishley's attack on Parker had made it unthinkable that he could remain a Charlton player. He accused the 23-year-old "of not wanting to play for us" and said the acrimonious saga had "left a bad taste in the mouth". Charlton are also demanding that Parker does not play against them when the sides meet a week on Sunday.
Charlton's deputy chairman, Richard Murray, reopened talks over the transfer yesterday after it was decided following another training ground bust-up that Parker could not be persuaded to stay. Charlton had already rejected two offers, of £7m and up to £9m, and the club chairman, Martin Simons, last week bullishly told the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, "to get lost".
Curbishley was critical of the behaviour of the club's youth academy graduate. "From the moment he heard Chelsea were interested, he hasn't wanted to play for us," he said. "Scott has been totally not focused on what he was doing. I've known Scott for 10 years, and he's been phenomenal for the last three seasons. But the last three weeks have left a bad taste in the mouth.
"He stated on many occasions he doesn't want to play for us and his conduct in training has not been what it should have been. Scott Parker gives 100 per cent in games and the same in training. But when he doesn't have that about him he's half the player, and that's how it's been for a couple of weeks."
Curbishley dropped Parker for the away game against Everton two weeks ago, saying the player was "unsettled" by Chelsea and had excluded him from the squad for tomorrow's fixture against Bolton.
Curbishley added pointedly: "Scott signed a new, five-year contract in the summer and although I understand him wanting to leave, I'm not happy about how it's come about. We're all disappointed because of where we are in the table and because this has happened now."
The timing could not be worse for Charlton. Losing their best player to the team above them when they are fourth in the Premiership and in line for a Champions' League place will inevitably lead to a questioning of their ambition.
But Curbishley added mischievously: "Perhaps Chelsea see us as their rivals, because the team below us is 13 points behind them. Perhaps they're trying to unsettle us. I'm just stating a fact. We're next to them and they're trying to buy one of our players."
Chelsea's need for Parker is acute. With Juan Sebastian Veron's season ending early due to back surgery, and both Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele in need of a rest, Parker will provide much-needed impetus. It could also be that with both Manchester United and Arsenal making significant moves in the transfer window, Chelsea felt the need to compete, not having, as yet, completed the £7.5m transfer of the Czech goalkeeper, Petr Cech, from Rennes.
Chelsea are determined to force through Parker's transfer in time to meet Uefa's 11am Monday deadline for the registration of players for the knock-out stage of the Champions' League.
Despite Charlton's criticisms of Parker, the player clearly believed he had a verbal agreement that would allow him to join one of the Premiership contenders if they came in for him, although Curbishley vehemently denied this yesterday. Also there was no get-out clause in the five-year contract he signed last summer.
John Terry was undergoing scans on his right leg yesterday to determine the extent of injuries sustained in an accident at Chelsea's La Manga training camp. The defender arrived back in England on crutches after suffering ankle and knee injuries in a collision with his team-mate Robert Huth, who was also hurt. Terry is certain to miss Sunday's game against Blackburn Rovers and could be out for around three weeks.Reuse content