The Sampdoria general manager Beppe Marotta has revealed his club are plotting an audacious swoop for the Chelsea striker Andrei Shevchenko.
Shevchenko has spent two difficult seasons in the Premier League after making the move from Milan to London for £30m in 2006. The 31-year-old, who has scored just nine goals in 47 Premier League appearances for the Blues, admits he misses life in Italy but Chelsea have so far resisted pressure to offload the underperforming striker.
Marotta feels his club can succeed by luring Shevchenko back to Italy on a loan deal, although he concedes the Ukrainian's wage demands could prove to be a stumbling block. "We want to solve our problems in front of goal with a player capable of exciting the crowd but who can also score plenty of goals," Marotta told Italian newspaper Secolo XIX. "Sheva would be proud to join us, but the problem would be his wages. Lots of great players like Samp and the transfer is a complete possibility."
In Paris yesterday, France celebrated the 10th anniversary of their 3-0 World Cup final triumph against Brazil with a commemorative game between their former heroes and an international XI at a packed Stade de France.
Zinedine Zidane's side drew 3-3 with an international team guided by the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger. Emilio Butragueño, the oldest player on the pitch at 45, scored the opener for the international side in the first half.
Playmaker Zidane, who scored two first-half headers against Brazil in 1998, equalised in the second half before Pauleta's volley put the visitors 2-1 ahead.
Ludovic Giuly, not part of the winning 1998 team, got France level again before a late goal from Davor Suker for Wenger's side was countered by Bernard Diomède for the French.
The France team was complete except for Emmanuel Petit, who scored the third goal in the final's dying moments. Fellow midfielder Patrick Vieira, who played for the last 15 minutes against Brazil, and striker Thierry Henry, who was on the bench 10 years ago, were also missing.