The squad new Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will lead into battle for domestic and European honours appeared to become clearer yesterday.
After arriving in Southern China for the start of their pre-season tour with a first-team squad including midfielder Frank Lampard but minus injured striker Didier Drogba, Chelsea confirmed a move for AC Milan’s Kaka was unlikely and revealed discussions with Real Madrid over striker Robinho were at an advanced stage.
After Drogba remained in London to receive treatment on a persistent ankle injury speculation increased over his future at Stamford Bridge, while Lampard’s inclusion in the squad for the five-game tour of Asia and Russia boosted hopes he would not be tempted away by former coach Jose Mourinho and new club Inter Milan.
“Didier’s future is at Chelsea because he has a contract with us,” said Scolari. “He has a contract with us and I think he is happy at Chelsea. He will follow a normal recuperation plan and I hope when we come back he will be in good condition.
“I have spoken to him (Lampard) every day, we are talking every day about Chelsea, about what’s the best way for Chelsea to play and when he is training with the other players what’s the best position for him. I have spoken about how to win games with Chelsea and Lampard and no more.”
Shortly after touching down in China ahead of tomorrow’s tour opener against Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou Pharmaceutical, chief executive Peter Kenyon insisted – despite claims from AC Milan – the Blues have not tabled an offer for Kaka.
“They have made it clear that he is not for sale and we will make it clear we have not made an offer,” he said.
“There is no reason to negotiate over something they don’t want to do and we have not made an offer.”
With new signings Deco and Boswinga set to make their first appearances for the Blues tomorrow, Kenyon suggested Brazilian striker Robinho could be the next through the Stamford Bridge gates prior to the Barclays Premier League opener against Portsmouth on August 17.
“We have had discussions with Madrid over it and they are ongoing,” he added. “The window is still open and we are still taking to Madrid.”
However, Robinho was quoted yesterday in Spanish newspaper Marca saying he wants to stay at Madrid “for a long time”.
With all the high-profile transfer speculation, two-time Premier League winner Claude Makelele made a quiet exit for his homeland and Paris St Germain after being released on a free transfer, while Chelsea also confirmed they had agreed a fee with VfB Stuttgart for defender Khalid Boulahrouz.
While Petr Cech’s future at Stamford Bridge was never questioned, the Czech Republic international was delighted to sign a new five-year deal to keep him at Chelsea until 2013.
“I am really happy about staying at Chelsea for many more years,” he said. “As soon as I arrived I felt part of the big family and the club has been growing in my heart.
“I am happy that I can still be part of this great club and I am looking forward to the new season and hope it will be a successful one.”