The chances of William Gallas leaving Chelsea have increased with the 28-year-old defender insisting that he will decide his future at the end of the season amid renewed interest from Juventus and Milan.
At the same time the Premiership champions are monitoring Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm and are considering a move to make the 22-year-old German international their first-choice left-back should they fail once again to land Arsenal's Ashley Cole. It still remains far more likely that Cole will move to Real Madrid if he leaves Arsenal, while Chel-sea, who are set to sign Michael Ballack from Bayern, have watched Lahm twice this month.
An alternative target once again is Milan's Kakha Kaladze although he, like Gallas, prefers central defence. The Georgian, who has been in outstanding form, was close to signing last year before Chelsea plumped instead for Asier del Horno.
The Spanish international, however, has failed to impress - and has also recently lost his place in the national squad - and is no longer regarded as a first-choice. If a new left-back arrives then it also heightens the likelihood of Wayne Bridge, currently on loan to Fulham, leaving. He is still wanted by Tottenham.
It is partly because Spurs are also likely to land the right-back Jonathan Zebina from Juventus in the summer that the Italian club have targeted Gallas. It means that the Frenchman will again not be playing in his preferred position.
Milan are also discussing a move for Gallas and regard him as a replacement for Jaap Stam, who is returning to the Netherlands, while Cafu is also leaving. Chelsea are keen to keep Gallas, who is under contract until 2007, and have said that they wanted to secure him on a longer deal.
However, Gallas said: "I don't think about that. I want to finish my season with Chelsea. I really want to win the Premiership and FA Cup and, after that, I will see. I don't think about it right now."
Gallas is an admirer of Juventus and Milan and is also understood to prefer a move to Italy should be leave Chelsea. There is a strong French contingent at Juventus and Gallas regards the defender Lilian Thuram as a wonderful role model.
Chelsea are interested in a number of Milan players and are still hoping to broker a deal involving Hernan Crespo going to the San Siro. But the chances of bringing Kaka or Andrei Shevchenko in the opposite direction remain remote.Reuse content