Tuesday 30 May 2017

Transfer Watch: Chelsea close in on £18.3m Ramires deal

CHELSEA last night moved closer to finalising the £18.3m signing of Brazil's World Cup midfielder Ramires from Portuguese side Benfica. The player has made it clear to the Benfica board that he wants to move to London.

The Portuguese champions paid £5.8m to sign Ramires a year ago from Brazilian side Cruzeiro, but must pay half the £18.3m to controversial agent Kia Joorabchian, whose investment group recently bought a 50pc stake in the Brazilian for a reported fee of £5m.

Ancelotti yesterday also distanced himself from reports that Ramires' Brazilian team-mate Kaka might be joining Chelsea too, as he has failed to settle following last year's move to Real Madrid. "Kaka cannot come to Chelsea. He was a player of mine and has done so much for Milan, but now he belongs to Real," Ancelotti said.

DECENT BETS

Manchester City have yet to follow up an initial inquiry regarding Yoann Gourcuff, the France midfield player.

City are understood to have made contact with Bordeaux about the 24-year-old, who is valued at more than £20m, at the end of last season, but have not yet taken their interest any further.

Arsenal have also been credited with an interest in Gourcuff as a potential replacement for Cesc Fabregas.

Steve Bruce is hoping to seal the loan signings of Manchester United's Danny Welbeck and Ghana centre-back John Mensah within the next 48 hours.

Blackburn Rovers are believed to have submitted an improved bid for John Utaka, the Portsmouth striker, as they seek to bolster their meagre attacking options. "We have made an improved offer for a player and are waiting to hear the outcome of it," John Williams, the Blackburn chairman, said.

LONG SHOTS

Stoke manager Tony Pulis, who is set to strengthen his first-team squad significantly, has denied having an official bid for Carlton Cole rejected by West Ham United.

The agent of Christian Poulsen, the Juventus and Denmark midfield player, is yet to receive any contact from Liverpool in spite of his client being regularly mooted as a possible replacement for Javier Mascherano.

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway is close to admitting defeat in his pursuit of Seamus Coleman, the Everton full-back who had a spell on loan at the newly promoted Premier League club last season.

DEAD CERTS

Stefan Maierhofer, the Austria striker, has joined Duisburg on a season-long loan a year after arriving at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Luis Fabiano, a long-term target of Tottenham Hotspur, has stated that he will remain at Seville.

Irish Independent

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