Chelsea have confirmed the signing of £6m-rated Emmanuel Petit from
Barcelona - and they have the documentation to prove it.
It is likely to scupper Manchester United’s hopes of an 11th-hour swoop for
the French midfield star.
According to Chelsea, Petit will officially become their player on Monday,
Colin Hutchinson, managing director at Stamford Bridge, said that Chelsea
had signed a pre-contract agreement with both the Spanish club and Petit.
Copies of the signed contracts have also been lodged with the Football
Association and the FA Premier League.
Chelsea kept details of the deal under wraps to comply with the wishes of
the Catalan club who did not want it to affect their challenge to qualify
for the Champions League next season.
‘‘Our position is quite clear,’’ Hutchinson said. ‘‘We’ve got a signed
contract with Barcelona and with Petit. To cover ourselves, we lodged copies
of these pre-contracts with the FA and the FA Premier League two weeks ago.
‘‘We have got an agreement which kicks in on July 1 when we fully expect
him to be a Chelsea player.’’
The London club revealed that Petit had already agreed to join Chelsea after
Manchester United were linked with a move for the former Arsenal star over
Hutchinson insisted United would be wasting their time with any attempt to
snatch Petit from their grasp and had taken the precaution of sending copies
of the pre-contract agreement to the FA to prevent any other club from
hijacking the deal at the 11th hour.
Petit, 31 in September, moved to Spain from Highbury along with Dutch winger
Marc Overmars in a £30m double deal last summer.
But the Frenchman failed to settle in Spain and could not command a regular
first team place at the Nou Camp.
He came on as a second-half substitute in the thrilling 3-2 win over
Valencia which guaranteed Barca a place in next season’s Champions League.
However, he also picked-up a minor hamstring strain in the same game and was
not expected to play any further part in Barcelona’s season.
Petit’s arrival will take Chelsea’s summer spending spree to around £23m and
that figure is set to rise even further as the club expect to complete
further transfer deals over the next few weeks.
Confirmation of Petit’s imminent arrival at Stamford Bridge follows the
addition to manager Claudio Ranieri’s squad of Marseille defender William
Gallas for £6m and England midfielder Frank Lampard from West Ham for £11m.