Transfer Talk: Zenit offer Zhirkov a route back home from Chelsea

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The Independent Football

With first-choice left-back Ashley Cole set to remain at Stamford Bridge, for the time being at least, Chelsea defender Yuri Zhirkov could be on his way out of the club after just a single season in England. The Russia international played understudy to Cole for much of last season and Zenit St Petersburg are preparing a £21m move for the 26-year-old.

Zhirkov struggled with injuries to both knees last campaign, making just 17 appearances after joining from CSKA Moscow the previous summer. He has, however, promised to fight for his place in the team. "I am a Chelsea player and it's a great honour to play for the club," he said. "The competition for places is great. But I really want to play and do everything I can to break into the team."

Meanwhile, Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng continues to be monitored by European suitors. The Ghanian impressed in his country's run to the World Cup quarter-finals after helping Pompey reach the FA Cup final last season.

The financially-troubled South Coast side are looking to offload the player's £20,000-a-week wages and, after earlier this week being linked with a move to Serie A side Lazio, Boateng is now interesting Milan, with the Rossoneri considering a £5.8m bid for the 23-year-old. Further interest comes from Genoa, whose president Enrico Preziosi is also confident of capturing him. "I will get ahead of myself here and say we'll sign Boateng, but loan him out to another team," Preziosi said. The player himself is in no rush to agree a move. "I am relaxed, just waiting for the right team," Boateng said. "I am ready to express my talent anywhere I can play."

The Bolton Wanderers manager, Owen Coyle, has admitted defeat in his efforts to re-sign midfielder Jack Wilshere from Arsenal. "It's well documented that we would like to have him back for another six months," Coyle said of the 18-year-old, who made 14 appearances on loan at the Reebok Stadium last season. "[But] it looks like Arsenal are going to keep a hold of him, and you can understand why. He is absolutely quality."

Nice striker Loic Remy has held discussions with Stoke over a potential £10m move, with further talks with Liverpool and West Ham also expected. "If the Liverpool trail has been abandoned and the West Ham one has clearly got colder," the Nice general manager, Patrick Governatori, said. "Stoke should get into position."


The Hoops have signed midfielder Adel Taarabt on a three-year deal from Tottenham. "He's a player who has a unique talent," manager Neil Warnock said. "I'm hoping we can channel it for the good of QPR."

Ipswich Town

Former Sunderland manager Roy Keane has returned to his old side to sign goalkeeper Marton Fulop. The 27-year-old Hungarian, who joins for an undisclosed fee on a two-year contract, could make his Ipswich debut against Middlesbrough tomorrow.

Nottingham Forest

Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand has moved to the City Ground on loan until January. "We know he is a good, young, attacking full-back," Forest manager Billy Davies said of the left-back, who turned 21 yesterday. "He certainly gives us excellent ability on the left-hand side."


Manager Ian Sampson has expressed his delight with the loan signing of Spurs goalkeeper Oscar Jansson. "He is here while Chris Dunn is injured and I'm sure he will do very well," Sampson said of the Swede. "He has been training with Tim Flowers and we have been very impressed."

Bristol City

The club have signed the 20-year-old Wales international striker Sam Vokes on a five-month loan from Wolves. "Sam's been a thorn in the side of my old team Reading over the years," City manager Steve Coppell said. "He's always looked a handful."

Leicester City

The Portuguese midfielder Moreno says Foxes manager Paulo Sousa convinced him to move to the Walkers Stadium. "It was fundamental to speak with him," Moreno said of his compatriot. "He has known me for a while."