Duff is jewel in crown of Chelsea silverware hunt

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The Independent Football

Chelsea record signing Damien Duff has insisted that he is not bothered by his £17 million price-tag.

Duff revealed that he was just 10 minutes away from taking off on Blackburn's flight to the United States for a pre-season training camp when the call came through that a fee had been agreed with Chelsea.

Having decided that he could not turn down the chance to at least speak to the Blues, he then took a further week to finally make up his mind after consulting friends, family and colleagues.

However, Duff is confident that he has made the right decision and is not even phased by the added pressure of his club record fee.

"I'd like to think that with the same hard work I've been doing at Blackburn, I'll prove myself at Chelsea over the term of my contract and beyond," he declared.

"But I'm trying not to think about the transfer fee. All the talk about money doesn't really bother me at all. All I like to do is to get on with my football.

"Of course, people are expecting high things from us, especially after the money that has been spent.

"Every year, Chelsea are expected to do well and even more so now. So we hope that we can do it.

"But we wouldn't feel that extra pressure down at the training ground or, hopefully, on match-days. We are just worried about playing football and getting the right results."

Duff then recalled the moment that Graeme Souness told him in the departure lounge at Manchester Airport that Chelsea had raised their offer to meet the £17 million buy-out clause in his contract.

He revealed: "I'd heard snippets all week but I was getting on the plane when the gaffer said that Blackburn had accepted an offer and, with 10 minutes to go, I'd better make my mind up!

"After I missed the flight, it took me about a week to make the final decision as I rang everybody that I knew. I wasn't going to make a snap decision as it was the biggest decision of my life.

"But I think I've made the right decision and hopefully that will show on the pitch."

The 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international added: "The easy thing would have been to stay at Blackburn as I had no reason to leave.

"I was playing every week and I loved the place. It's a great club and I've got a lot of great friends there.

"But this was a big, new challenge that I just couldn't turn down.

"I've come down to London to play with world-class players and although I haven't been guaranteed a place every week, I'm just going to work hard and try to play as much as possible.

"These are exciting times for Chelsea, that's part of the reason all of us signed. The new man has thrown money at the club and hopefully we can build a squad for the future and win things.

"Who knows who we'll be bringing in over the next couple of weeks but the squad already looks strong and we're just looking forward to the season starting."