Wilkins: 'Drogba going nowhere'

Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins insists star striker Didier Drogba will not be sold in the January transfer window.

Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins insists star striker Didier Drogba will not be sold in the January transfer window.

Drogba, back in the Chelsea squad for tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Ipswich, has been linked with a move to Manchester City.

But the Ivorian striker, left out of the squad for their last two games by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, is not for sale.

“We haven’t received anything from Manchester City,” said Wilkins.

“Of course every player in world football has his price but he’s a massive part of our squad and he won’t be going anywhere in the transfer window.

“I think for the last 10 days his work ethic has been outstanding. He’s trained very well and been in great spirits.

“He’s been laughing and joking, he’s been the leader of the pack. He’s been in good form.

“Every player has little dips and it’s about how you react. He’s reacted in positive fashion and we’re delighted with him.

“I’ve spoken to him on numerous occasions. When you think of the ability of the guy and what he has to offer, he’s a big asset. We’re delighted to have him here.

“There won’t be anyone coming in during the window. We’re thrilled with the young players coming through here and we’ll crack on with what we’ve got.

“Our squad is a big squad and if we lose players we have others who can fill the gap.”

Wilkins also rejected suggestions owner Roman Abramovich could be tempted to sell the club following speculation a group of German investors were considering whether to make a takeover bid.

The Russian billionaire owner insists he has no intention of selling the club - a position underlined by chief executive Peter Kenyon at a fans’ forum last weekend.

But Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim, the man behind the takeover of Manchester City, believes everything has its price – and may be ready to launch a takeover bid.

Fahim is understood to have drawn up a proposal with Falcon Equity – a Swiss-based private equity partnership.

Fahim, CEO of Abu Dhabi-based Hydra Properties, also chairs Falcon Equity, which is run by Holger Heims, former managing partner of DVC Deutsche Venture Capital.

“It’s not entirely clear if Chelsea is for sale, but regardless of that, we first need to see if we are in a position to buy it,” said Fahim.

“Given that Roman Abramovich has invested more than £500million into the club, it would not be cheap, and with the current credit crunch, nobody wants to be over-exposed on one deal.

“But through a number of investors, there is money available to put together a deal.”

But Wilkins was swift to reiterate the club’s ’not for sale’ stance which is expected to be underlined further when their accounts are published next month.

“It is no, no,” said Wilkins. “Roman is very keen to continue his support of Chelsea and what Peter Kenyon said last week is the bottom line. It’s not for sale.”

Chelsea face Coca-Cola Championship side Ipswich at Stamford Bridge mindful of their poor home record against lower-league opposition this season.

The Blues were bundled out of the Carling Cup on penalties by Burnley and League One Southend earned a 1-1 draw before losing the third-round replay at Roots Hall.

“Ipswich have the fourth-best away record in their division,” said Wilkins. “They had a fantastic win at Crystal Palace last week and have players who have played at Premiership level.

“But we’re at home and the onus is on us to get after them and make it as uncomfortable for them as we can.

“We got beat by a better side on the night with Burnley. Then against Southend we couldn’t put away the second goal.

“We’re back on track, we’re in good form and the lads are training especially well.”

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