Kenyon's mission to secure Essien
Wednesday 27 July 2005
Kenyon is in the southern French city to secure the signing of Essien, Jose Mourinho's last summer transfer target, but not, despite Roman Abramovich's unparalleled purchasing power, at any price. Chelsea are now trying to work to a budget, albeit one which is still larger than anyone else's.
Aulas, under pressure for constantly selling his club's leading players, and for subsequently failing in Europe, wants £32m for the Ghanaian. Chelsea, unsurprisingly, regard that as a high price for a 22-year-old player without experience either in the World Cup or Europe's big four leagues, even if he was voted French player of the year last season by his peers.
Chelsea had hoped to secure Essien's signature before their American tour but had to head to New Jersey last week without him. That failure has forced Kenyon to come back across the Atlantic and mount another attempt to complete the deal.
Chelsea's ultimate deadline is the end of the transfer window. "As long as Essien is here by 31 August we will be happy," Kenyon said. However, Mourinho would like his jigsaw pieces in place earlier, preferably before the Community Shield on 7 August while the Lyon coach, Gérard Houllier, needs to finalise plans for his first season in charge of the French champions. With Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, Essien's other suitors, no longer pursuing a deal Aulas's position has been weakened.
At least Essien wants to join Chelsea, as he made clear when he said "My last hope is Abramovich. I hope he will meet their demands."
This will have been more of a relief than one might expect to the English champions. Abramovich may have the deepest pockets in the game but Chelsea have failed to secure a series of high-profile targets this summer, notably Steven Gerrard, Andrei Shevchencko and David Trezeguet.
The latter revealed yesterday that he was never remotely tempted by the prospect of leaving Juventus for Stamford Bridge. The 27-year-old French striker said: "I was in the United States on holiday and did not really follow Chelsea's interest in me. I feel very happy with Juventus and I never thought I could leave."
Instead, Trezeguet finds himself playing alongside his France team-mate Patrick Vieira, who has joined Juventus from Arsenal. "I am delighted. We all know his qualities. He has been Arsenal's symbol in the past few years. He will surely bring us something extra and I agree with coach Fabio Capello when he says that, with Emerson, he makes the best pair of central midfielders in the world."
Even without buying Trezeguet, Chelsea have already spent £32m this summer taking the total expenditure on transfers under Abramovich to £242m in barely two years. Only Real Madrid and Milan have come close to matching their spending this summer, each laying out more than £20m, primarily on Robinho and Alberto Gilardino respectively.
Both clubs' largesse will be matched by Arsenal if they can persuade Juan Baptista to leave Seville. Unlike Chelsea, however, Arsenal, had to sell a key player before trying to cut such a swathe in the market.
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie: Manchester United may have more joy if striker is dropped by David Moyes
Chris Powell sacked: Charlton confirm manager fired despite being in talks to sign new contract
Why does Manuel Pellegrini keep picking Martin Demichelis for Manchester City?
England 29 Wales 18 player ratings: Who was the star man at Twickenham?
Bayern Munich v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pleads for 'fair chance' from referee as Arsenal look to turn around Champions League deficit
- 1 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering nest of potentially deadly spiders in bananas
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home