June 10 2008
Peter Kenyon arrived in Milan two days ago for his second visit in less than a week. Some claim he is “on holiday” although I’d wager that would be far too much of a coincidence. So what’s he doing there? It’s difficult to wade through the mass of media speculation but the implications of his visit is a poker game involving Drogba, Etoó, Deco, Kaka, Quaresma and unfortunately….Lampard.
There are certain reports with quotes which might help us unravel the mystery although the name Didier Drogba at the top of the list doesn’t really surprise us and Milan vice-president Galliani has already confirmed that they have permission to speak to him:
"Chelsea have authorised us to open negotiations with Drogba.”
I personally would hate to see him go, and to be fair, I don’t think the club want him to either - it’s almost certainly the case that the player himself wants out.
Drogba´s departure would be a great shame – he’s the best target man in the world and despite his petulant nature I shall miss him. I’d be tempted to get down on bended knee and massage his ego (which is what he needs) ; tell him he’s the greatest, tell him we’re going to go two up front next season – oh, and give him a hefty pay rise to make sure he finishes his career at Stamford Bridge.
On the cynical side we could take heart that IF we sell Drogba then this is last chance saloon to sell him if we want to receive a respectable amount for his transfer fee (much like Arsenal did with Henry).
Given that we would be losing Drogba then only one of the worlds best forwards would be acceptable as a replacement - this is where Etoó comes in.
The Cameroon striker has already admitted that he had talks with Mourinho a couple of seasons ago and almost went to Chelsea so reports of Mourinho´s interest in Etoó for Inter are probably correct – Milan have also publicly declared their interest a few weeks ago in Etoó .
Now we are prepared to sell Drogba to Milan for £18million providing they withdraw their efforts in trying to sign Etoó - who we would sign for £22m – on around 110K in order to discourage Inter from the equation. We also have the additional advantage that Etoó has already recently stated that if he leaves Barcelona then he´d prefer Premier League football.
But I wonder if Drogba would really want to go to Milan? No Champions League football and the following season he would be approaching his 32nd birthday. Drogba to Inter?…NOW that would make sense from Drogba´s perspective as he would be back with his mentor Jose Mourinho and playing in the top echelon of European football next season – but Kenyon agreeing to sell Drogba to Inter would immediately put us up against Milan to sign Etoó who have a bit more cash available than their illustrious neighbours.
Is Kenyon playing a game of poker here? The intention may well be to ensure that Drogba goes to Milan – not Inter who we could come up against in Europe next season – and therefore we get a free run at Etoó…OR…that Drogba has a word with himself and decides that he’s better off staying at Chelsea – either way, we don’t lose?
On to another forward, what may have caused a surprise is our apparent refusal to sell Shevchenko back to Milan. Galliani confirmed that the Ukrainian would be staying in London:
"Unfortunately, the response we feared came - Chelsea consider Andrei unsellable. This epilogue makes us very sad."
Some of you may laugh but I still think Sheva has something to say in Premier League football – especially if he gets the type of service he craves within a Chelsea side playing a different style of football.
Or is Kenyon’s stance on Sheva another poker hand? Kaka is strictly not for sale (neither was Christian Ronaldo – Ed) according to Galliani and I certainly can’t imagine us signing him. Kenyon would have to make an absolute ludicrously high offer to prise him away from Milan even though the Brazilian midfielder will not be playing Champions League football next season. Would Kenyon try and broker a deal involving Drogba AND Shevchenko (as a sweetener) + cash for Kaka?
Finally, on to Lampard; Now I understood that Lampard was going nowhere – but if that’s the case what are doing putting an offer in for Deco?
“There are only two possibilities and they are Chelsea and Inter, but I have not decided my future yet.
“The decision of where I play is mine. I have to meet with my agent to decide what is best. But I won’t go to a club that does not interest me and does not allow me to win titles.”
Add the increasing possibility that Scolari will take the helm of Stamford Bridge next season and you’ve almost got a done deal:
"I have great faith in him and our relationship could not be better."
“Our relationship is excellent and that counts. But you have to evaluate other things. Inter are a great team, as are Chelsea, where several friends of mine play like Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Hilario.”
The Deco signing only makes sense if Lampard (or Ballack for that matter) were on their way – or are we REALLY considering having ALL THREE on our books next season? No! It has to mean that Lampard is off – or at least thinking about it.
Could Inter afford him though? For them to sign Lampard would probably take up most of their transfer budget, however, if Lampard has made it clear he wants to leave then Kenyon may well insist that Inter cede in the battle for the signature of Ricardo Quaresma – another player ourselves and Inter are locking horns over at the moment. Or is our interest in Deco a ruse? Will giving way to NOT signing him give us a free poke at signing an Inter target that we want? (eg Quaresma).
So, to sum up from this mish-mash of admittedly amateur sleuth work, we would appear to be looking at Etoó, Deco and Quaresma IN with Drogba and Lampard OUT with a smidgen of a possibility of Kaka IN (with Shevchenko OUT) for an for an amount of money that I don’t even want to think about…OR…Drogba STAYING and no Etoó…..or none of any of the above! (I haven’t even considered the Ancelotti angle).
Anyway...We can be sure that (a) Kenyon is VERY busy at the moment and (b) We’ll know more soon!