Mourinho ups offer for Drogba but rules out bid for Rooney

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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho expects to complete his pre-season signings within the next fortnight - but they will not include Wayne Rooney or Edgar Davids as the Chelsea coach sticks to his pledge to have no more than 21 senior outfield players plus three goalkeepers under his new regime at Stamford Bridge. He may, however, have the services of Didier Drogba.

Jose Mourinho expects to complete his pre-season signings within the next fortnight - but they will not include Wayne Rooney or Edgar Davids as the Chelsea coach sticks to his pledge to have no more than 21 senior outfield players plus three goalkeepers under his new regime at Stamford Bridge. He may, however, have the services of Didier Drogba.

Chelsea's improved £22m bid for the Ivory Coast international will be discussed at a Marseille crisis meeting today. Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, stepped up his offer for the striker in the past few weeks and now hopes to be given the go-ahead to buy him.

Marseille had turned down all offers, but the club's president is now buckling under the temptation of Chelsea's cash and is likely to accept.

Mourinho outlined his plans yesterday, oozing the same style and self-belief he showed when unveiled as Claudio Ranieri's replacement. The only difference from just over a month ago was that he had traded a dark suit for a bright blue Chelsea shirt and looked more relaxed as he introduced his backroom staff and laid out his blueprint.

Team Mourinho includes, as expected, the majority of his supporting cast at Porto plus Steve Clarke, promoted from youth-team coach to assistant manager. "It was very important to retain someone with the culture of Chelsea," Mourinho said.

Of more significance, perhaps, are the departures and arrivals among the playing staff. Paulo Ferreira is already on his way and, providing he completes personal terms, PSV Eindhoven's Serbian striker Mateja Kezman will become a Chelsea player this morning.

Expect another midfielder and a central defender to follow - but Everton fans can sleep easy as there are no plans to add Rooney. "I love him as a player," said Mourinho. "His personality is amazing and he's full of confidence, way ahead of his years. But I don't think he can come here. It's not just the money, it's just that we have other priorities. Rooney is a wonderful attacking player, but not a target man."

Davids, despite speculation, also appears to be off the list. "He's a top, top player but in my opinion, you cannot have two players of similar stature in midfield in the Premiership and I already have Makelele," Mourinho said.

Those on or soon to be on the way out include Juan Sebastian Veron, Jesper Gronkjaer, Mario Melchiot and Hernan Crespo. But Adrian Mutu has expressed a desire to stay.

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