Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea's Hit List; Blues Plan to Bring in Up to Four New Stars

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea's Hit List; Blues Plan to Bring in Up to Four New Stars

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

CHELSEA will look to buy a maximum of four players during the summer with two more leaving the club.

The weekend speculation that the Premiership championselect have made a bid for Real Madrid striker Michael Owen is, however, wide of the mark.

A new striker to replace Adrian Mutu is a priority but no firm decisions have yet been made. Owen, who has failed to tie down a regular place in Real's first team, is one option while Inter Milan's Brazilian Adriano is another.

Mourinho has said from day one that the optimum number for his senior playing squad is 22. At the moment, with the departure of Mutu and Celestine Babayaro, he is two short of that number.

Two summer signings will bring the squad back up to the right level and the Stamford Bridge club will also look to bring in two more topquality players.

The priority positions, apart from a striker, are left-back and midfield.

The chances of Chelsea signing Ashley Cole have all but disappeared in the light of the Premier League 'tappingup' inquiry but Shaun Wright-Phillips remains a distinct possibility as a wide right midfield player.

Chelsea, despite owner Roman Abramovich's wealth, are committed to reducing the level of expenditure on players during this close season and will save some money by allowing at least two outfield players to leave.

Geremi, who has hardly featured in recent weeks, is favourite to go while Alexei Smertin or Tiago could be another. Goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini also looks certain to move on but Chelsea are likely to keep Scott Parker.

The former Charlton star has suffered a recurrence of the foot injury which has kept him out since December and could be out for several more weeks but it is certainly not a foregone conclusion that he will move on during the close season.

Manchester United's England defender Rio Ferdinand has been linked with a big money summer move to Stamford Bridge but now appears to have ruled himself out. …

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