Chelsea miss out on Pirlo but extend Drogba's deal

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The Independent Football

Chelsea are resigned to losing out on Andrea Pirlo after the Milan midfielder said yesterday that he had agreed with the Serie A club not to follow former manager Carlo Ancelotti to London. The Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi had earlier announced that Pirlo has been "taken off the market" but it was the player himself who finally ended Chelsea's interest.

Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, had worked hard to bring the deal to a closure, engaging Milan in talks on Friday, but a deal could not be done for the 30-year-old. However, Pirlo did admit that he had been tempted by Chelsea's offer.

He said: "I had the possibility of changing teams but at the end in mutual agreement the club and I decided to continue and we are all happier. It was a difficult summer with many doubts but at the end, in my family, we are all happier to remain in Milan."

As the deal for Pirlo collapsed yesterday, though, Chelsea concluded the contract saga of Didier Drogba who was given a two-year extension that will keep him at the club until 2012. It is a remarkable turnaround in the career of the Ivorian striker who has agitated to move over the previous two summers but has never found a club willing to match Chelsea's transfer valuation and his own wage demands.

Drogba is expected to move onto a salary in excess of £100,000 a week, tying up one of the last few players at Stamford Bridge who are coming to the end of their contracts. He said: "I stay because I am ambitious to pick up lots more trophies, regain the Premier League title, win cups. It is for this that I have extended my time at Chelsea."

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