Juventus pull plug on Mutu loan signing

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The Independent Football

The proposed loan transfer of Adrian Mutu from Chelsea to Juventus has fallen through because the clubs failed to agree terms, the player's agent said last night.

Mutu and his agent, Giovanni Becali, travelled to Turin on Thursday after Chelsea had agreed a one-year loan with the Italian club but the deal broke down. "Chelsea asked to have the first option for a possible transfer of Mutu in the future but Juventus officials rejected the proposal," Becali said.

The Romanian striker will return to England and start the season with Chelsea. "Mutu is Chelsea's player for the next four years," Becali said.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's assistant manager Steve Clarke believes the club have a strong case with their appeal against a three-match ban on £5.3 million new signing Mateja Kezman.

Chelsea are claiming wrongful dismissal after Kezman was sent off for violent conduct in a pre-season friendly against Roma on 29 July. He was dismissed for an altercation with Olivier Dacourt following a foul by the former Leeds midfielder on Arjen Robben during the match in Pittsburgh.

The Football Association informed Chelsea that Kezman must serve a three-match domestic suspension, which will begin on 17 August. The matter will be dealt with by an FA disciplinary commission on Monday. Clarke refused to rule out a move for another international striker, but claimed the club would cope if Kezman is unavailable. "I think the three forwards at this club are all quality players," added Clarke. "If we decide to add another face, then that's all good and well."

The Everton director, Paul Gregg, will attend his first game in 15 months when he goes to today's friendly against Real Sociedad as the battle to take over the club overshadows their build-up to the new season.

A rift with the board has been blamed for Oxford-based Gregg's non-attendance over the months, but he has confirmed he will be at Goodison Park for the match against the Spanish side.

Everton have to get their act together with the new season approaching and Gregg may consider sitting with fans rather than in the directors' box, on a day that cynical supporters have already claimed is more "three weddings and Everton's funeral" - parts of the main stand will be closed to fans because of three weddings booked into the ground's executive suites.

Gregg has had meetings with fans' groups this week, but chairman and owner Bill Kenwright shows no signs of backing down, with the Premiership season a week away and manager David Moyes still hamstrung over acquiring new players.

One bright spot in an increasingly gloomy situation for the Merseyside club is that Wayne Rooney had another scan on his injured foot yesterday and has been told he can start running again in a fortnight.

There is still no chance Rooney will be fit to play before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month. And Rooney's advisors refused to make any comment on claims that the 18-year-old England international was about to sign a five-year contract - but only if there was a clause inserted that he could talk to any club which bids more than £20m for him.

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