Chelsea could add McCarthy to Porto old boys' reunion

Jason Burt
Thursday 26 May 2005 00:00
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Chelsea are close to making a £6m move for Porto's Benni McCarthy as it appears increasingly likely that they will start next season with Didier Drogba remaining as their main striker.

As yet no approach has been made for McCarthy, who played for Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho when he was in charge at Porto and who scored two goals against the London club in this season's Champions' League.

The fee for the 27-year-old South African covers the buy-out clause in his contract at Porto - a clause that Mourinho is, of course, aware of - and he fits the profile of the powerful striker that the Chelsea manager favours.

The Premiership champions are also continuing to discuss renewing attempts to sign Internazionale's Adriano, although his agent, Gilmar Rinaldi, confirmed yesterday that no contact had been made since a deal was proposed last summer.

Rinaldi and Adriano are both in Brazil and the player has no plans to return to Europe before the Confederations Cup next month, according to his agent. "At the moment we have not had any contact from Chelsea," Rinaldi said.

At the same time discussions have been held over making another enquiry regarding Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe, who signed an improved contract earlier this year. Chelsea have all but given up hope of signing Milan's Andrei Shevchenko or Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o.

Another intriguing possibility remains the Brazilian Luis Fabiano, who is also a Porto player, and one that Mourinho hopes can be moulded into a world star. However he has suffered a disappointing season in Portugal.

The arrival of a new striker may be delayed until the future of Mateja Kezman is sorted out. The Serb has made it clear that he does not want to remain as a substitute at Chelsea and has attracted interest from Marseilles and from within the Premiership.

Yesterday, Mourinho said that he was willing sell Scott Parker, if the midfielder wants to move on. Everton are proposing a £6m move for the 24-year-old who has grown frustrated by his lack of opportunities at Stamford Bridge.

"He's not one of the players who enjoys not to be a first choice," admitted Mourinho who added that Parker agreed with him that Claude Makelele was an "unbeatable player" who would be difficult to dislodge. "He [Parker] wants to be in the national team. He can only be in the national team if he plays regular," Mourinho said.

Parker has also attracted interest from Spurs, Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Birmingham City, although Everton remain favourites to sign him. "If he's not ready to wait and he just wants to play and play and play and play we have to think about it. We have to think about a loan, we have to think about selling but he's a very, very good player," Mourinho said.

The club yesterday launched a new reality television series aimed at uncovering a future Premiership star. The winner of the Sky One show will be offered a youth academy place.

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