Chelsea forge links with PSV

CHELSEA are on the verge of a formal tie-up with PSV Eindhoven.

"We are in talks with Chelsea about co-operation," a PSV spokesman confirmed yesterday. "That co-operation exists because we are colleagues who can learn something from each other.

"We are talking to them like we are in talks with many other clubs we meet at matches, or in the G14," he added.

However the spokesman denied reports yesterday claiming Chelsea would help to finance a big-money move by Santos defender Alex to PSV, as part of the proposed agreement between the two clubs.

"We have a contract with Santos player Alex," he said. "He is a PSV player, and therefore Chelsea have nothing to do with him. His five-year contract with PSV will be finalised early next week.

"We are waiting for his medical test results and are assuming everything will turn out right and he will sign on.

"This does not mean that he will leave for Chelsea after two years, or that Chelsea would have a first option on him if he were to go."

None of that, of course, precluded the usual Sunday newspaper headlines on Claudio Ranieri's future at Stamford Bridge, with hastily-denied allegations that Sven-Goran Eriksson has agreed to take over Chelsea in the summer.

One redtop claimed that Eriksson has told Juventus playmaker Pavel Nedved that he would be appointed Blues chief in the summer. Eriksson worked with Nedved at Lazio and allegedly asked the Czech Republic international if he wanted to join him at Stamford Bridge.

Nedved's agent Zdenek Nehoda told the News of the World: "Mr Eriksson phoned Nedved and said: 'I will be taking over Chelsea this summer, would you be interested in signing for me?'"

But Eriksson reacted quickly insisting: "This is simply not true."

Given Chelsea's luck on Saturday, Claudio Ranieri might even believe him. The Blues edged past Man United into second place, though there can be no disputing that Man City deserved to win at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Had Robbie Fowler taken any of the three chances presented to him within three minutes of the re-start, Chelsea would probably not have come back given the paucity of the visitors' performance.

Crespo and Hasselbaink, who made way for Gudjohnsen midway through the second half, were hardly in the game. Scott Parker and Joe Cole looked shadows of the players Charlton and West Ham fans know them to be and Bridge's body will take days to unwind so badly twisted was he by Wright-Phillips.

Ranieri side-stepped the post-match press conference, offering his observations on the match through Chelsea TV.

"Luck at the end of the year evens itself out. If we were lucky today, it is because we had no luck in other games, but that is football."

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