Zola offered £2m to trade Chelsea for the Middle East

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The Independent Football

Gianfranco Zola has been offered £2m to leave Chelsea and sign for the Arabian club, Al Qatar, next season. Millions of pounds, generated by the sale of oil, are being pumped into the league as it looks to raise its football profile ahead of the 2006 World Cup and Al Qatar see the Italian as the perfect person because of his skills and demeanour off the pitch.

Al Qatar are also offering Zola £40,000 per week, but that figure could rise if the striker, who is a free agent, is prepared to move at this stage of his career.

Zola has yet to commit to Chelsea despite their qualification for the Champions' League. He is on a high salary at Stamford Bridge, but his new contract may be based on appearances. He could, therefore, pick up far better money in the Middle East.

"Zola is our first choice and the club's owners do not usually accept second best in these matters," an Al Qatar source said. Agents working for Qatar clubs have signed other leading names in the past few weeks including Gabriel Batistuta, Frank Leboeuf and Steffan Effenberg. Paul Merson and Teddy Sheringham have also been linked with a move to the Middle East.

Joseph Kendrick has left Newcastle and signed a three-year contract with 1860 Munich, according to reports in Germany. The Republic of Ireland Under-20 defender, had only featured for the club's reserves this season.

Arsenal are in danger of missing out on the Turkish World Cup goalkeeper Rustu Recber as Barcelona are planning talks with him. Recber, currently a free agent, is leaving Fenerbahce in the summer and has been a target for the Gunners for almost a year.

Another World Cup goalkeeper, Colombia's Farid Mondragon, has emerged as a surprise target for Arsenal and Manchester City. Mondragon, 30, who plays for the Turkish side Galatasaray, is available at around £1m.

The Tottenham manager Glenn Hoddle is hoping to sign the Brighton striker Bobby Zamora for around £2.5m. Brighton wanted £5m for the player a year ago but the price has dropped with the cooling of the transfer market and the club's relegation to the Second Division.