Chelsea were tonight in talks with Andriy Shevchenko after the AC Milan striker arrived at Stamford Bridge to negotiate his £34m (€49.6m) transfer.
The Italian club last night granted the 29-year-old Ukraine captain permission to travel to London for further discussions after Shevchenko had declared his intention to leave the Serie A giants.
Although the Barclays Premiership champions maintain “no deal has yet been finalised”, it is hoped agreement can be reached to allow the Blues’ long-term target to complete his move by tomorrow.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has already added German captain Michael Ballack to his squad on a free transfer from Bayern Munich and hopes to make another significant addition to his side’s European pedigree with the capture of Shevchenko.
However, they did also warn that no deal has yet been finalised, adding: “An agreement between all parties is still pending.”
Since joining the club in 1999, Shevchenko has scored 173 goals for Milan, the second most their history behind Gunnar Nordahl with 221.
However, he last week declared his intention to leave the Serie A giants.
“I am leaving for family reasons,” said Shevchenko. “I want to thank the club (Milan) for everything it’s given to me.”
Yesterday Chelsea completed the signing of promising young forward Salomon Kalou, 20, on a three-year deal from Dutch club Feyenoord for an undisclosed fee.
The arrival of the Ivory Coast-born Kalou is now likely to pave the way for the departure of England U21 striker Carlton Cole.
Both Tottenham and Premiership new-boys Reading are understood to be keen on the 6ft 3in frontman.
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon confirmed: “Discussions have gone on with Carlton. He does want to play football and you have to appreciate that.
“We are supportive of that and are currently in discussions with several clubs who have shown an interest.”
Kenyon told Chelsea TV: “I think we will find the right solution for Carlton and for Chelsea in the next few weeks.”