Gronkjaer set for Chelsea exit to prepare for summer influx

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The Independent Online

While Chelsea expect to be a buying team rather than a selling team this summer, someone will have to make way for the expected influx of high-profile signings, and Jesper Gronkjaer may be one of the first to leave.

While Chelsea expect to be a buying team rather than a selling team this summer, someone will have to make way for the expected influx of high-profile signings, and Jesper Gronkjaer may be one of the first to leave.

The Danish winger is wanted by the Birmingham City manager, Steve Bruce, in a £3.5m move. Bruce wants to sign three or four leading players and has gone back in for Gronkjaer after failing in a move for him during the last transfer window.

The entertaining but erratic Gronkjaer still had a part to play in Chelsea's season, but he will be squeezed out by new arrivals and the next coach. Chelsea will look to get some money back for Gronkjaer, although the final decision will come down to the player.

Birmingham are planning to move up-market and have already put in bids for Leeds' Alan Smith and Liverpool's Emile Heskey. They have also edged ahead of Aston Villa in the race to satisfy the wage demands of Muzzy Izzet, who is after a move from relegated Leicester.

So St Andrew's would be a more attractive proposition for Gronkjaer now than it was in January when he preferred to stay at Chelsea. Gronkjaer has scored a couple of vital goals this season, but continues to frustrate with his crossing ability. His pace would be an asset for Birmingham.

As Gronkjaer looks towards the Stamford Bridge exit door, Roberto Carlos claimed yesterday to have been approached by Chelsea. Real Madrid's Brazilian international defender said he has had an offer from Chelsea but still hopes to win a new deal with the deposed Spanish champions.

The 31-year-old told a Spanish radio station that his advisers had been contacted by Chelsea. "I have not spoken directly with anybody but people from Chelsea spoke to my lawyers," he said. His interview sounded like good business practise by the the former Internazionale player, with negotiations imminent on a deal that expires next year.

"I'm happy here and people know that," he said. "My aim is to keep playing until I am 38 and I want to spend five of those in Madrid and then the last two in Brazil with Santos."

However, his present deal expires in 2005 and Roberto Carlos admitted that he expected the club to move from their present position in negotiations.

"I want a four-year contract," he explained. "The club have given me two options but I want to hold out for four years. I want to speak to Jorge Valdano [the director of football] and the president [Florentino Perez] next week and sort out my future before going on holiday."

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