Juventus set to tempt Chelsea with Gallas offer

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The Independent Football

The future of Chelsea's versatile defender William Gallas remains uncertain despite claims from the player that he is happy at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian club Juventus, linked with a move for the defender during the January transfer window, are reported to have increased their interest in the Frenchman and watched him closely during both legs of Chelsea's Champions' League exit to Barcelona.

Gallas insists he is happy to remain at the London club despite not being able to play in his more accustomed centre-half position. Gallas has filled both the right and left-back berths this season as the coach, Jose Mourinho, has used his squad to maximum effect.

Reports from Italy now suggest that Juventus made contact with Gallas after Chelsea's defeat in Spain. Fabio Capello's side are looking for defensive reinforcements and the coach has identified Gallas as his main target. Gallas will be a free agent in 2007, although talks over a new Stamford Bridge deal are set to be rekindled in the summer.

Juventus are almost certain to offload the French right-back Jonathan Zebina in the summer with Tottenham Hotspur favourites to land the 27-year-old.

The German giants Bayern Munich have conceded they would not be able to match any massive offer from Chelsea for their captain, Michael Ballack.

The German international is out of contract this summer and Mourinho is a firm admirer of the 29-year-old. Bayern have not given up all hope of persuading him to stay but the commercial manager, Uli Hoeness, admitted that if Chelsea agreed to Ballack's wage demands of £120,000-a-week, the Germans would be out of the running.

"If he [Ballack] gets an offer from Chelsea, there's no way we can come up with a better one," Hoeness said. "There is one club in the world we can't fight with and that's Chelsea because financially, we are not strong enough. If Mr [Roman] Abramovich wants a player, he will always find a solution and you won't get a chance," added Hoeness. "I don't have any problems with that. It's his money."

The Tottenham coach, Martin Jol, has admitted his side's weakness for conceding last-minute goals - as they did against Chelsea at the weekend when Gallas scored a cracker - is costing them as they attempt to clinch a place in next season's Champions' League.

Spurs are fourth in the Premiership but only two points ahead of London rivals Arsenal. Jol's side have gone out of both domestic cup competitions through late goals this season and have also thrown away valuable points against Fulham, West Ham and Sunderland.

"It was similar to Leicester [in the FA Cup], Sunderland and other times this season," said Jol. "Instead of trying to play a clever ball we must get it up into their half. The last minute again - it is unbelievable.

"I must give credit to the lads, though. In the second half we made a decision to play with a bit more of a rigid formation and could have scored when Jermaine Jenas had a chance - he scored a good goal before half-time.

"They were very dangerous in the first half on the break, but we made some corrections at half-time and got better. They tried to hit the space through [Shaun] Wright-Phillips in the first half and Lee Young-Pyo defended better in the second.

"With one minute to go we didn't clear the ball - if we had we would have won a good point. It wasn't a great display, but a professional one from the lads and then we gave away a goal. We must improve because it has cost us dearly."

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