Chelsea's pursuit of Robinho stalls as Real hunt for replacement

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The Independent Football

Chelsea remained in talks with Real Madrid yesterday over the £25.5m purchase of Robinho. The deal still appears dependent on Madrid signing a replacement for the Brazilian – who is desperate to move to Stamford Bridge – having failed with two bids this week, one for Valencia's David Villa, the other, more surprisingly, for Villarreal's Santi Carzola.

The fact that the two clubs are still talking has maintained confidence at Chelsea that they will finally land the 24-year-old although they are braced for the deal to go down to the wire with the transfer window closing at midnight on Monday. There is also an acceptance at Chelsea that such a hitch was to be expected given how smoothly the deal appeared to be progressing in the last few days.

"I don't know about that because it is not my job," said their manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, yesterday. "If they can bring him here it will be down to board meetings. I just have to think about Tottenham [the game tomorrow], not about whether players have come."

Chelsea also believe that Madrid's public utterances – attacking Robinho's advisers and claiming he will stay – are part of a face-saving exercise to buy time before a replacement is found. A club like Madrid are not used to star players walking out on them.

However, if the deal does indeed collapse it will be a severe embarrassment to Chelsea after their chief executive, Peter Kenyon, had talked confidently on Wednesday that he hoped the transfer would take place "within 48 hours".

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