Chelsea poised to sign super-fit Ramires from Benfica for £18m

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The Independent Online

Chelsea last night moved close to finalising the £18.3m signing of Brazil's World Cup midfielder Ramires from Portuguese side Benfica. Reports from Portugal said Chelsea will pay a total of €22m (£18.3m) for the hard-working 23-year-old, who has made it clear to the Benfica board that he wants to move to London.

The Portuguese champions paid £5.8m to sign Ramires a year ago from Brazilian side Cruzeiro, but must pay half the £18.3m to controversial agent Kia Joorabchian whose investment group recently bought a 50 per cent stake in the Brazilian international for a reported fee of £5m.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti wants Ramires, who is renowned for having remarkable stamina, to occupy the right side of the midfield. Earlier this summer the Double winners let Joe Cole, Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti quit on free transfers, leaving Chelsea light in midfield.

Ramires will become Ancelotti's second signing of the summer, following the capture of Yossi Benayoun from Liverpool. Ramires played four times for Brazil during the recent World Cup, including three appearances from the bench.

Ancelotti yesterday distanced himself from reports that Ramires' Brazilian team-mate Kaka might be joining Chelsea also, as he has failed to settle following last year's move to Real Madrid. Ancelotti, who managed Kaka at Milan, said: "Kaka cannot come to Chelsea. He was a player of mine and has done so much for Milan, but now he belongs to Real Madrid and he will decide about his future along with his current club. Certainly neither I nor Chelsea will decide his future for him."

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