£2.5m Emerson set for surprise Chelsea move

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The Independent Online

Chelsea are poised to complete the £2.5m signing of Sheffield Wednesday's Brazilian central defender Emerson Thome, writes Alan Nixon .

Chelsea are poised to complete the £2.5m signing of Sheffield Wednesday's Brazilian central defender Emerson Thome, writes Alan Nixon .

The surprise sale may upset Wednesday's fans, who have had to contend with the loss of Italian favourites, Paolo Di Canio and Benito Carbone within the last year. Although the two strikers both fell foul of the club's manager, Danny Wilson, Emerson has been a crowd favourite since his arrival at the club in April 1998.

Nicknamed "The Wall" because of his imposing physique, Emerson was signed by the former Wednesday manager, Ron Atkinson, following the defender's release from the Portuguese side Benfica. The 27-year-old has remained a virtual ever-present in the Owls team since, although speculation mounted over his future during the summer.

Thanks to his superb performances last season, which helped to keep the club in the top flight, Emerson was hoping for a new contract to match his consistently high level of performance. Wednesday decided not to enter into negotiations, which led to speculation linking him with a potential move to Blackburn and Tottenham.

But Chelsea have now stepped in to take advantage of Wednesday's plight at the foot of the Premiership, as well as the club's crippling financial situation. The Wednesday chairman, Dave Richards, recently revealed that the Owls are £18m in debt, with Wilson having to sell before he could enter the transfer market to bolster his squad.

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