Deco joins Scolari's Chelsea in £8m deal

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The Independent Football

Chelsea confirmed the signing of Portugal midfielder Deco from Barcelona last night. The playmaker had recently been told by the Catalan club he did not feature in their plans and had been linked with a move to the west London club regularly in recent years.

The 30-year-old becomes the club's first signing since Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was appointed manager last month. Chelsea announced the news yesterday evening and are expected to confirm they have paid £8m to sign the two-time Champions League winner on a two-year deal.

The Brazil-born player's departure from the Nou Camp proved to be protracted due to Barcelona's valuation of around £11m for the player despite his age. That price seemed to have deterred Internazionale – who were also apparently interested – but Chelsea have managed to negotiate the price down.

Deco's arrival is Chelsea's second signing of the summer after his international team-mate Jose Bosingwa joined the club.

Sir Alex Ferguson will trust his old guard again next season as Manchester United prepare to follow up their Champions League and Premier League double. The United manager, appearing at a charity golf event at Loch Lomond, refused to discuss the possible departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

He did, though, include the Portuguese international in a list of young players he feels will show improvement next season while revealing that stalwarts such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar and Gary Neville will play an important part.

Ferguson said that Neville, who was out for more than a year with an ankle injury, will resume the captaincy.

He added: "That triumph of winning the league and the Champions League can only help us and players like Anderson, Nani, Rooney and Ronaldo will emerge from that and be top players. Nani and Anderson will improve and that is the reason we bought them."

Joey Barton will be sentenced today after pleading guilty to assaulting a former Manchester City team-mate, Ousmane Dabo, in a training-ground incident in May 2007. The Newcastle United midfielder was due to go on trial in Manchester yesterday, but changed his plea to guilty after learning that he is likely to receive a suspended sentence.