Abramovich to break bank for Kaka

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Chelsea may not have made a "bid" for Kaka, as their chief executive, Peter Kenyon, asserted yesterday, but the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, did make it clear to Milan at a meeting earlier this month that he would pay whatever it takes to sign the Brazilian.

Milan's vice-president, Adriano Galliani, has confirmed that he met with Abramovich on one of the billionaire's yachts, the Pelorus, at Portofino, on the Italian Amalfi coast, earlier this month. The meeting was at Milan's behest, as they wanted to discuss re-signing Andrei Shevchenko – which was rejected by Abramovich – but the Russian used the opportunity to inquire about the current World Player of the Year.

"It is true that I have been on Roman Abramovich's boat and I made an offer for Shevchenko, he asked me about Kaka, but we have not talked figures," Galliani said. Nevertheless, Abramovich made it clear that he would comfortably break the world transfer record to sign Kaka. Milan's resistance is genuine but it would be removed if the player made a statement, in public, that he wanted to leave especially if the offer is as high as £80m.

Kenyon alluded to the impasse yesterday after arriving in China for the club's pre-season tour. "The truth on Kaka is that we have not made a bid, whatever everyone else says. Milan have said publicly he is not for sale. So there is nothing more to say if that is their position," Kenyon said. He drew a comparison, however, with Kaka's fellow Brazilian, Robinho. "Robinho is different," Kenyon said. "We are interested in the player and we have had discussions with Real Madrid. We have not made a formal offer and we will see where it goes." Hours later the 24-year-old declared he wanted to stay at Real "for years to come".

But that statement was taken with a large pinch of salt by Chelsea who know that the player is for sale at the right price and wants to leave – for the right price in terms of wages. Chelsea are aware that Robinho and his agent, Wagner Ribeiro, could be attempting to use them to negotiate a new contract at Real but are confident that a deal is likely if the Spanish club become more realistic over the fee.

Chelsea's clear-out is set to continue with the departure this week of defender Talal Ben Haim who is to join Manchester City for a fee of £5m after just one season at Stamford Bridge. City's executive chairman, Garry Cook, is hoping to tie up the deal when he returns to Britain today after promising Ben Haim the £60,000-a-week he currently earns. Departing yesterday were Claude Makelele and Khalid Boulahrouz. The former has joined Paris St-Germain on a free transfer, signing a two-year deal at the age of 35 with the option of a third year and the promise of a coaching role. Boulahrouz has moved to Stuttgart for an undisclosed fee, thought to be £4m, which represents a £3m loss on the player.

Having sold Steve Sidwell for £5m to Aston Villa, Chelsea will continue to trim their squad. Portsmouth still want to sign Shaun Wright-Phillips, while Juliano Belletti, is wanted by Benfica and clubs in Spain and Claudio Pizarro may also depart. Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari again stressed yesterday that Didier Drogba was genuinely injured and that he wanted to keep the striker although his agents are still trying to secure a move away. Goalkeeper Petr Cech has signed a new five-year contract at the club.

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