Charlton Athletic yesterday dropped Scott Parker from the squad for tomorrow's Premiership game against Everton after the midfielder informed them that he wants to join Chelsea. The 23-year-old is disappointed that a bid of £6m has not been accepted and informed Charlton that he understands a "gentleman's agreement" exists allowing him to speak to other clubs should a suitable bid be made.
That was discussed last summer when the England international signed a five-year contract in the face of firm interest from Chelsea - pre-Roman Abramovich - and Tottenham Hotspur.
The Charlton manager, Alan Curbishley, revealed that Parker was unsettled by Chelsea's renewed approach and had not trained for the past two days. He will not travel to Merseyside for the game at Goodison Park.
Despite his efforts to convince Parker that he would be better placed to remain at Charlton at present - and further his international ambitions with Euro 2004 so close - the player has said he wants to leave.
Curbishley said: "Scott has been unsettled by the transfer talk and I did not think it was right for him, or for us, to train while we're preparing for a game. We can't stop clubs bidding for our players but it does not mean we have to accept it. Chelsea have been told of our decision and so has Scott.
"He's disappointed but it doesn't mean we have to jump," Curbishley added. "Chelsea made a bid and it was turned down completely. I gave Scott the last two days off because he's not in the right frame of mind. Footballers only think about themselves. But I have to think about the fans and the board and that we're fourth in the table."
Despite Curbishley suggesting that even a bid of £15m would be rejected, it is unlikely that Parker will stay should Chelsea substantially raise their offer. A move to Stamford Bridge would also raise a huge question mark over the future of Joe Cole, although he has not been offered to Charlton as part of the deal.
Louis Saha, meanwhile, renewed his bitter attack on Fulham for their unwillingness to sell him to Manchester United. The striker will formally submit a transfer request in the next few days, after which United will make a fresh bid of around £10m.
Saha is reported, by the French newspaper Le Parisien, as saying: "Fulham are not honest. The club's managers keep changing their opinion. One day they say 'yes' to a transfer and the next day they say 'no'. They think I am an object.
"The club say they would rather sell me in six months' time - but I am fed up now," he added. "Either I leave now or I am staying at Fulham until the end of my contract, which finishes in 2006. If Fulham love me that much they are going to have to cope with me until the end - and then I will leave them for zero euros."
Fulham believe a compromise can be reached, selling the striker, with Chelsea also showing an interest, but with the condition that he plays for them until the end of the season. They accept that a lower fee would be paid in that scenario and agreed similar terms with Liverpool last year over the sale of Steve Finnan.
Manchester United's chief executive, David Gill, has no intention of getting involved in the kind of protracted transfer saga which eventually saw Ronaldinho turn down a move from Paris St-Germain last year, something Saha is equally keen will not happen to him. "I feel that the road which leads to Old Trafford is about to open," Saha added. "Their [Fulham's] managers should also remember they are businessmen. Bluffing people is good. But when a big amount is put on the table they should stop showing off; otherwise they end up with an angry and frustrated player."Reuse content