Carlo Ancelotti's deal to join Chelsea hit a snag last night over interest from Real Madrid and the Italian's personal terms. Chelsea are still confident they will get their man, who quit as coach of Milan yesterday, but their planned announcement for yesterday evening had to be shelved.
The Ancelotti camp have pointed to interest from Real Madrid as leverage in their negotiations for the coach's four-year contract. While informal discussions have been taking place for months now, Chelsea – under the direction of the club's owner Roman Abramovich – are eager that they are not left with as big a potential payout as they were liable for when they sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari after eight months in the job.
The Italian coach also sought clarification on the roles of Guus Hiddink, formerly the interim manager, who will continue in an advisory capacity, and the director of youth development Frank Arnesen. Ancelotti's advisers have also pointed to the change in tax laws announced at the last budget which mean that, from next April, high-earners will pay 50 per cent rather than 40 per cent of their earnings. They feel that this necessitates changes to the deal.
Ancelotti appeared on a chat show in Italy last night to promote his autobiography and he played down assumptions that he would be joining Chelsea immediately. There is also no deal yet in place to bring his assistant Filippo Galli from Milan, who has been offered another role at the club following Ancelotti's departure yesterday. The Brazilian Leonardo takes over at Milan in Ancelotti's place.
The interest from Real Madrid, who have made attempts to sign Jose Mourinho and Arsène Wenger is definite, although Chelsea still believe that they will get their man. They feel that after extensive negotiations, Ancelotti, 49, who was released from the last year of his contract by Milan after eight years' service, will be signing for them this week.
Ancelotti finally quit as Milan manager yesterday after the club secured qualification for the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Fiorentina. Just 24 hours earlier, John Terry urged Abramovich to once again spend big this summer and sign David Villa of Valencia and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribéry.
Terry volunteered the names of Spain striker Villa and midfielder Ribéry of France, who would cost in the region of £40m each, as the kind of world class players Chelsea need to attract.
Villa, 27, is likely to leave Valencia this summer, as the Spanish side are in desperate need of money but the striker will interest both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Chelsea have already approached Bayern Munich about Ribéry, 26, but the Germans have indicated they have no financial need to sell.
Chelsea are on the verge of a major overhaul. Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is due to be unveiled as the new Chelsea manager early this week, but the influential Terry made it clear that new faces have to be added to the side as well.
Abramovich has restricted Chelsea's outlay in the past two seasons, in an attempt to make the club self-sufficient. But the Russian oligarch has indicated to the players he is prepared to embark on another massive outlay again this summer, to revitalise the squad once more.
"I think we will see Chelsea back and competing for the top players who are out there at the moment," Terry said. "The likes of Ribéry, David Villa. These are the kind of players we want to attract to Chelsea. If we can do that, with successes like this FA Cup win and pushing for the Premiership again next season, we're going to attract those kind of players. We need those kinds of players to strengthen the side
"Valencia are struggling for money, I think that's been well publicised. Ribéry as well. There's been a lot of talk and us being linked with him. I think there'll be many players we'll be in for in the summer, but when big players come up like those kind of players, we need to show people and let them know that, yes, Chelsea are back."
Terry also revealed Abramovich's interest in Chelsea has been rekindled again in the last six months, after a period in which he has been preoccupied with other business interests. In the past six months the Russian has sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari, replaced him with temporary manager Guus Hiddink, and now seems set for another huge overhaul of the side, under new coach Ancelotti.
Reports from Russia suggest Chelsea have already agreed a £18m deal for left-winger Yuri Zhirkov from CSKA Moscow. The 25-year-old, dubbed the Russian Ronaldinho, has reportedly agreed a four year deal to be announced shortly.
A massive splurge this summer would constitute a huge U-turn in policy for Chelsea, who for years have talked about breaking even in 2010. In February chief executive Peter Kenyon was talking of a clear-out of big name players as the club announced annual losses of £66m.
But that was before Hiddink arrived, to reawaken Abramovich's interest in his pet project. The oligarch fell out of love with Chelsea under the confrontational regime of Jose Mourinho, who left the club 20 months ago.
But there are signs Abramovich has once again fallen for the side on which he has so far spent £710m. Certainly the enthusiastic, and uncharacteristic, way he joined in the dressing room celebrations after Saturday's FA Cup final comeback victory over Everton suggest he is as committed to the club as at any time. Terry said: "Over the last six months, he's been busy. The previous six months after the Champions League [final in 2008], he was away quite a lot. But, of late, he's been here, wanting to know what's happening at the training ground again."
Terry welcomed the imminent appointment of Ancelotti as the new manager, saying Andrei Shevchenko has told Chelsea players what to expect. "Sheva speaks very highly of him," Terry said. "If he's the man to come in, then he's got a great bunch of lads to work with. Knowing him and knowing us, it could be the start of something very good."
Bridge of buys Terry's targets and Roman's previous summer shopping
Age 26 Position Midfield CLUB CAREER
2003-04 Stade Brestois
2007+ Bayern Munich
*36 caps for France, seven goals
Transfer value: £40m
Also interested: Manchester United, Real Madrid
*Scored 31 goals in two years at Bayern
Age 27 Position Striker
2000-03 Sporting Gijon
2003-05 Real Zaragoza
*43 caps for Spain, 25 goals
Transfer value: £40m
Also interested: Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City
*The Spaniard has scored at least 18 goals in each of the last eight seasons,
including 30 in 40 games
for Valencia this season and 101 in 165 matches overall for Los Che.
*Summer 2003: £111.25m
Biggest: D Duff (Bl'brn) £17m
*Summer 2004: £89.05m
Didier Drogba (Marseilles) £24m
*Summer 2005: £54m
Michael Essien (Lyons) £24m
*Summer 2006: £45m
Andrei Shevchenko (Milan) £30m
*Summer 2007: £13.5m
Florent Malouda (Lyons) £13.5m
*Summer 2008: £24.2m
Jose Bosingwa (Porto) £16.2m
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