Chelsea have told Luiz Felipe Scolari that they believe they can deliver him the Brazilian playmaker Kaka and will also step up their efforts to sign Fernando Torres in what promises to be a highly expensive and extremely attritional summer of transfer pursuits. After five years at Chelsea, Roman Abramovich is preparing to bankroll a sequence of signings that will be his most high-profile yet.
The club now believe that they have the marquee name to attract some of the biggest stars in world football. The appointment of Scolari was attractive to the Chelsea hierarchy because of the influence he will have on Kaka, who is regarded as a viable target because of Milan's failure to qualify for the Champions League next season. While Torres would be a much more difficult prospect given his huge significance to Liverpool, both in terms of the goals he scores and his popularity with the supporters, no limit is being placed on the ambitions of the club.
With £578m already invested in Chelsea it would now seem to be the case that Abramovich is prepared to raise the stakes once again and change the whole economics of the transfer market by breaking records to take established stars from some of the biggest clubs in the world. Liverpool's recent financial result and the stalemate in their ownership issues have given Chelsea the belief that even Torres has a price.
It is understood that the contract with Scolari is yet to be signed but that Chelsea have enough assurances to know that he will not be performing another one of his famous U-turns come the end of the month. It is also unclear whether the two sides have agreed over the length of his contract. The Portuguese football federation is not happy at the manner in which the announcement was made: Scolari's agreement with Chelsea had always been that it would be done as soon as Portugal had qualified for the quarter-finals. In fact it was not until Turkey's subsequent win over Switzerland that they were assured of a place.
The signing of the Portugal right-back Jose Bosingwa from Porto for £16.1m this summer would appear to have been the first sanctioned by Scolari. He gave his Portugal players the day off yesterday and Deco, the Barcelona midfielder, is understood to have left his team's training camp in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, for discussions about his future. The 29-year-old is a natural target for both Scolari and his old adversary Jose Mourinho at Internazionale.
The degree of secrecy with which Scolari's deal to join Chelsea was concluded became apparent yesterday when sources at the club revealed that the club's new manager-in-waiting decided against visiting Stamford Bridge and training ground in case he was spotted there. The Brazilian has not yet seen his new place of work and did not even meet with Abramovich after the Russian billionaire watched Portugal's victory over the Czech Republic in Geneva on Wednesday night.
Scolari is keen not to give the impression that his mind is anywhere but on the job of leading Portugal in Euro 2008 and did not want to run the risk of being pictured with Abramovich even after Chelsea's dramatic announcement on Wednesday that the job was his. The Brazilian hardly emerged from the squad hotel in Neuchâtel yesterday apart from a few hours he spent in a boat on the nearby lake. He has agreed with the Portuguese football federation that he will speak about his decision at a press conference tomorrow ahead of Sunday's final group game against Switzerland.
As far as his backroom staff at Chelsea are concerned, Scolari is eager to meet with Steve Clarke, the former Chelsea player who served under Mourinho and Avram Grant. Clarke is eager to manage a club of his own, potentially at a level beneath the Premier League, but with no offers yet on the table will meet with Scolari.
The two have never met and are reserving judgement on whether they could work together until Scolari takes over the club next month. The Brazilian will not be bringing quite the same entourage as accompanied Mourinho when he took over at the club in 2004. As opposed to Mourinho, Scolari prefers to work, in the main, with those he finds at the club and national teams that he has managed in the past. However, his two closest assistants are set to join Chelsea: his assistant Flavio "Murtosa" Teixeira and the fitness coach Darlan Schneider, who is Scolari's nephew.
The Portuguese football federation has given up any hope of changing Scolari's mind and they are already looking at potential replacements. Carlos Queiroz, the Manchester United assistant, has been mentioned as have the Portuguese coaches Fernando Santos and Manuel Jose.
Collectors' items: Four faces that could be heading for Chelsea
* Kaka Surely top of the shopping list – but at what price?
* David Villa Could reform the forward line performing so brilliantly for Spain with Fernando Torres, who seems happy at Anfield, but might be lured away.
* Deco Leaving Barcelona – his agent, Acaz Fellegger, acts as Scolari's spokesmanReuse content