Mourinho reunited with Carvalho in £6.5m deal
Ricardo Carvalho finally got his wish last night, with Chelsea agreeing to sell the unsettled central defender to Real Madrid for a fee of around £6.5m.
The 32-year-old's departure completes the clear-out at Stamford Bridge this summer -- unless Real can convince Chelsea to sell an unhappy Ashley Cole also -- and reunites him with the man who brought him to England in the first place, and with whom he shares an agent, Jose Mourinho.
The deal also represents something of a victory for Chelsea, given that Mourinho had tried to take Carvalho to Inter Milan last summer -- along with Deco, who has since been given a free transfer to Fluminense for personal reasons -- without a fee being paid.
A year on and Chelsea have now managed to extract a reasonable sum for Carvalho, whose star has waned at the club during the last campaign.
Carvalho has agreed a two-year deal at the Bernabeu with an option for a further year; he becomes the club's fifth signing this summer.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, remain committed to James Milner's move to Manchester City in return for £20m and Stephen Ireland, despite the resignation of manager Martin O'Neill.
Villa owner Randy Lerner flew in from America yesterday to oversee the club's search for a new boss, which should be made easier by the fact that the board had drawn up a shortlist before O'Neill resigned. Sven Goran Eriksson has already contacted the club, while Bob Bradley, the USA coach, is also interested.
How unsettled the players will be by O'Neill's departure is open to debate. Curtis Davies, for example, was barely able to contain himself.
"A lot of players have been frustrated by not having a fair crack of the whip and I'm one of them. I felt I didn't have a chance," he said.
Stoke are close to signing Kenwyne Jones for £9m from Sunderland. Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager, feels that the forward is too inconsistent.