Di Matteo: Chelsea won’t pay over odds

Roberto Di Matteo insists Chelsea would not be held to ransom over their transfer targets as he considered blooding his latest signing in tomorrow’s Premier League opener.

The Blues travel to Wigan seemingly no closer to reaching an agreement with their opponents’ chairman, Dave Whelan, over the transfer of Victor Moses.

Whelan this week accused Chelsea of “messing about” over the fee for Moses, warning the 21-year-old was going nowhere unless his demands were met. The Blues’ business elsewhere may also have stalled, amid reports they have yet to agree a price for Porto forward Hulk or seal a deal for Marseille right-back Cesar Azpilicueta.

On top of that, they have had bids rejected for other targets as rival clubs have tried to eke the maximum return possible from a side bankrolled by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

But having already splashed out more than £60million this summer in an era of Financial Fair Play, Chelsea are not about to be bled dry during what remains of the transfer window.

Manager Di Matteo said: “I think that goes for many teams, not just for us. We’re not going to pay over the top. What we think is the real value for a player, we have paid.”

Many expressed surprise they were not in the thick of the race to sign Robin van Persie.

Although Di Matteo refused to reveal if they had been interested, he cast doubt on whether the Holland star would make the difference between Manchester United winning the title and finishing behind arch-rivals Manchester City again.

“Personally, I still believe that Man City is the favourite because they haven’t lost any key players,” he said.

“But, certainly, van Persie is a good signing for United.”


Louisa Earls is a manager at Books Upstairs, D’Olier St, Dublin, which is owned by her father, Maurice Earls.Virus response writes a new chapter for Books Upstairs

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