From The London Times August 2008:
Chelsea are determined to complete the world-record signing of Kaká, but they will have to wait until next year to do so. Chelsea have not given up hope of completing the world-record signing of Kaká from AC Milan, but have resigned themselves to having to wait until next year to secure his signature.
The club view the pursuit of the Brazilian as a long-term project, similar to the one that led to them luring Andriy Shevchenko from the San Siro two years ago, and, after being rejected this summer, will make a renewed attempt to secure their dream signing in 12 months' time.
The Times has learnt that Chelsea are working with several leading agents on a deal that could take more than a year to come to fruition. Milan have rejected several polite inquiries this summer and insisted that Kaká is not for sale at any price, but they indicated that they might be willing to do business in the future.
Chelsea believes that they have a chance of signing the man that Roman Abramovich, the club's owner, has coveted above all others since Shevchenko turned out to be such a spectacular flop, but he will not come cheaply.
Kaká signed a new five-year contract worth £6.5million a year after tax in April, with its value rising every year until it expires in 2013. Chelsea would have to smash their wage ceiling to sign Kaká, which could cause problems with others in the dressing-room.
For example Frank Lampard has just ended more than two years of tortuous negotiations by signing a deal that places him on the captain's level.
Adriano Galliani, the Milan vice-president, said last month that they had rejected an “enormous offer” from Chelsea for Kaká, and although it was denied at Stamford Bridge, an informal inquiry was made.
For all the public bluster emanating from the San Siro around such subjects as Kaká, Shevchenko, and Didier Drogba, the two clubs have a good relationship and will continue to talk - directly and through intermediaries - throughout the coming season.
While even Abramovich has a budget, Chelsea have made it clear that they judge each case on its merits and are prepared to pay huge sums for the right player, with any potential transfer fee likely to be far in excess of the £48million that Real Madrid paid Juventus for Zinédine Zidane seven years ago.
Given his relationship with the club and reputation for loyalty, Kaká will not agitate for a transfer, however, and would move only with Milan's blessing.
Chelsea's confidence springs from their close relationship with Milan and the fact that similar long-term tactics paid off in their courtship of Shevchenko, who was also part of the Milan family and whom they tried to sign in three successive summers before the Italian club relented.
The presence of Luiz Felipe Scolari as manager at Stamford Bridge also gives them an advantage because Kaká has expressed an interest in being reunited with the man who named him in his victorious World Cup-winning Brazil squad at the age of 19.
Chelsea's only remaining transfer target before the transfer window closes on August 31 is Robinho, an international teammate of Kaká. Scolari is content to start the season with his existing squad if the club fails to agree to terms with Real.
Chelsea had a £19.7million bid rejected last week but are confident of success, particularly as the player's contract talks at Real appear to have stalled.
“He's the type of player who brings some difference to Chelsea and if we can bring that one off then he would add to the squad,” Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, said. “If it doesn't, then we're not going to win or lose because of Robinho.”
Scolari has also made it clear that he wants to hold on to fringe players such as Branislav Ivanovic, who has attracted interest from Milan, with Claudio Pizarro and Juliano Belletti the only players who will be allowed to leave.
Shaun Wright-Phillips could be sold if Robinho is signed, but only for the right price, and there are doubts as to whether Portsmouth are willing to match the club's valuation.
Chelsea can look forward to receiving an unusual windfall after FIFA ordered Adrian Mutu, their former striker, to pay the club £13.68 million in compensation for a breach of contract.
The Romania player was sacked after testing positive for cocaine four years ago and has received the biggest fine given to a footballer, calculated by FIFA’s dispute resolution chamber according to the remaining value of his contract. Mutu is likely to appeal.
Chelsea was given another boost yesterday when Roy Keane tipped them to win the title. “This year for me it’s Chelsea,” the Sunderland manager said. “I always felt that United would do it last year, but I fancy Chelsea this time.
“There’s no African Nations Cup, they’ve got a new manager, they’ve bought one or two new players and for all the ups and downs last year at the club, they still nearly nicked it. If United get a top, top striker they’ve got a chance, but my gut feeling this year would be Chelsea.”
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