Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon was in Italy yesterday, although quite what he was doing there remained unclear. Some sources claimed that Kenyon was brokering a deal to sell Didier Drogba to Milan – and enquiring again as to whether the Italian club will countenance allowing Kaka to go in the opposite direction, with coach Carlo Ancelotti also joining him at Stamford Bridge.
Others claimed that he was simply on holiday. If the latter is true it would point to Chelsea waiting until Euro 2008 is over before making an announcement, which would suggest that Portugal's Luiz Felipe Scolari remains the favourite.
However, according to one source, Kenyon intended to make Ancelotti "an offer he can't refuse". It's likely Chelsea will take the same approach to try to acquire Kaka, whom they have long coveted and regard as the player who could ignite the kind of football that owner Roman Abramovich craves.
Whether either move eventually succeeds remains to be seen – and with Ancelotti's insistence that he will stay in Milan, and the club's insistence that they want him to, it appears Kenyon continues to face a daunting task. His trump card is the money he is offering – which would make Ancelotti by far the best-paid coach in the world. Given Kenyon is in talks with Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani for the second time in a week, he apparently believes he can still make a breakthrough.
Chelsea may want to use Drogba, who has made clear he wants to leave, in part exchange. Yesterday Galliani confirmed Milan had permission to speak to the striker. "Chelsea have authorised us to open negotiations with Drogba," Galliani said. He added that Chelsea had denied Milan, who are looking for two strikers, the chance to also sign Andrei Shevchenko. "Unfortunately, the response we feared came," he said. "Chelsea consider Andrei unsellable. This epilogue makes us very sad."
Chelsea fans may say it's sad for them too – but they will be even more concerned by the news emanating from the Portugual camp at Euro 2008 that Internazionale intend to hold talks in the coming days with Ricardo Carvalho's agent, Jorge Mendes.
Mendes is the most powerful deal-broker in Portugal and, significantly, Scolari has, for the first time as a national team coach, allowed agents into the hotel where he is preparing his squad for a major tournament. It's thought that this is to let Mendes, in particular, go about his business.
Mendes has been highly visible at the Portuguese squad's hotel . He also represents Cristiano Ronaldo – who wants to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid – and Deco, who is keen on a move to the Premier League, as well as Carvalho. Mendes' first priority is to sell Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma to Internazionale, who are now coached by another of his clients – Jose Mourinho.
Mendes also has a close relationship with Scolari and would be involved in any deal to take the Brazilian to Chelsea should their move for Ancelotti fail. The Portuguese Football Federation remains bullish about its chances of holding on to Scolari after Euro 2008 – when his present contract expires – with president Gilberto Madial privately claiming that the coach has given him his word he will stay.
But Scolari would accept an offer from Chelsea, and the Portuguese know Abramovich has been in Switzerland in the last few days. There's a feeling among those close to Abramovich that he will look at which coach excels at Euro 2008.Reuse content