Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea Bid for Cagliari to Keep Zola

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea Bid for Cagliari to Keep Zola

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT HUGHES

CHELSEA were so desperate to keep hold of Gianfranco Zola they considered buying his new club Cagliari to enable the Italian to return to Stamford Bridge, writes Matt Hughes.

Zola made a verbal agreement to join the Sardinian club before Roman Abramovich's takeover last week and Chelsea's new owners moved immediately to change his mind.

The 37-year-old striker confirmed yesterday that he had been offered improved terms to stay at Stamford Bridge but it is understood that the club's efforts went much further than simply offering to increase his wages.

When Zola told Chelsea that he would remain true to his word a representative of Abramovich contacted Cagliari to offer a transfer fee for his services. After offers of [pounds sterling]1.25million and [pounds sterling]2m were rejected Chelsea inquired how much it would cost to buy the Serie B side as a nursery club, but the approach failed.

A source close to the player said: "Chelsea made two separate offers to Cagliari and even offered to buy the club to

get back Gianfranco, but were laughed out of town. Only Chelsea would offer [pounds sterling]2 million for a 37-yearold. …

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