As Gary Cahill's move to Chelsea inched closer yesterday, the departure from Stamford Bridge of another centre-half, Alex, remained on hold, WRITES SAM WALLACE.
The Brazilian international has been the subject of a £3m bid from QPR, but Chelsea insist the 29-year-old is worth more. Indeed, many observers would argue he is of a similar level to Cahill, for whom Chelsea agreed a £7m fee with Bolton a fortnight ago.
Cahill is three years younger, but, unlike Alex, he is out of contract in June. However, while Chelsea feel under no pressure to sell Alex for less than their valuation -- it is the player who wants to leave -- they are keen to get him off the wage bill.
That is believed to be £100,000 a week which, if matched, would make him the highest-paid player at Loftus Road by some distance, eclipsing Joey Barton's £70,000 a week. QPR are reluctant to match both Chelsea's price and Alex's wages, but are anxious to tie the deal up. Good centre-halves are hard to find and Chelsea are keen to secure Cahill before Tottenham, Manchester United or Liverpool step in, but only on their terms, believed to be £50,000 a week.
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas said: "We're making good, solid progress. Hopefully, it can be concluded soon."
However, it would be difficult for negotiations to be concluded by 5.0 today, the deadline for Cahill to play against Sunderland tomorrow. Cahill may then instead play against Man United for Bolton -- which, ironically, may be more beneficial to Chelsea's lingering title prospects than playing at Stamford Bridge. (© Independent News Service)