Chelsea end Kaka interest as Robinho deal nears completion
The Chelsea chief executive, Peter Kenyon, said yesterday that his club were not interested in signing Milan's Brazilian Kaka this summer because they had fulfilled their promise to the new manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, to secure Robinho and Deco.
Speaking for the first time about the deal for Real Madrid's Robinho, Kenyon said that it showed Chelsea's growing status that they could attract young players from Europe's top clubs.
Kenyon said that Scolari had told him that Robinho and Deco were the priorities when he joined last month and a £26m deal for the Brazilian international has been reached. "Nothing will happen [with Kaka]," Kenyon said. "There were two players we identified. We want to close the Robinho deal and that will be the end of our transfer window."
Speaking at the launch of Chelsea's second annual report into the club's community work, Kenyon said he was tying up the remaining details of the deal with Madrid for Robinho, 24, which relies upon Santi Carzola going to the Bernabeu from Villarreal. The deal has dragged on for most of the summer but Kenyon said it was important they get the player because Scolari rated him so highly. It was Deco and Robinho whom, he said, Chelsea's manager had wanted.
Kenyon said: "Robinho is young, so he's the right age, and he's come from Madrid, so he understands what big club football is all about. Importantly, the manager supports him. When we sat down, Scolari said: 'You've got such a great squad at Chelsea and you need something special to improve it'. He came up with two names, Deco and Robinho.
"Robinho comes with real, real desire and wants to be recognised as one of the best players in the world. What we're doing is supporting Scolari, how he wants to change and move the style a bit to take us to the next level. Therefore, we're very comfortable that will turn out to be a good investment. This [deal] was always going to go to the wire because of the nature of the player and with it being Madrid. But I'm confident we will get it done and Robinho's absolutely committed to coming. He understands we want him as a club and the coach is 100 per cent behind it – that's always a big point for the player.
"We are gaining respect every year and the rest of Europe see us as a real club. A lot of that has been behind-the-scenes work, we're very influential in European football. If you look at where we were five years ago, it has been a meteoric rise. It is about growing up and, ultimately, you win the Champions League and that cements your position."
The first step along that road will come this evening when Chelsea are in the draw for the Champions League group stages in Monaco. In the meantime, the club reported yesterday that they had invested £4.39m in charity this year, which may be considerably less than they intend to spend on Robinho but represented 2.3 per cent of their £190m turnover, more than three times the United Nations' minimum recommendation for corporations. The club said that their community schemes and facilities had been used by more than 350,000 people.
Kenyon rejected the notion that the club had made major losses on Andrei Shevchenko, back at Milan on loan, and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who cost £21m in 2005 and is now available for less. Shevchenko, whose £121,000 wages are no longer Chelsea's concern, cost the club £31m and Kenyon maintained that despite the meagre returns of the striker the club had still got value for money.
"I do [think Chelsea got value for money from Shevchenko]," he said. "You have to look at these things pragmatically, sometimes these things don't work as well as you want them to. Remember, we got Deco for £8m and that looks to be the buy of the season. You have got to counter these things and we are happy with where we are.
"I get fed up [at estimated losses] because it's not right. I'm not giving a lesson on accountancy, but you do write money off over the term of a contract. What we pay is an investment. During that period you have a player who is doing a job and in this industry you buy and sell players."
In the practice of amortising the value of a player, his value on the accounts of the club is reduced relative to the remaining length of his contract. Therefore, Chelsea have reduced the value on their books of Wright-Phillips, who signed a five-year deal in 2005, by about £4m a year. His current value is around £12m, which they hope to recoup from either Manchester City or Everton in a transfer in time for Monday's deadline.
Scolari said that he was not sure that Robinho would be in the Chelsea squad to face Tottenham on Sunday but that he was confident he would get the player this summer. "He's a very good player because of his unpredictable style," Scolari said. "If you expect one thing, he can change that in a second. He's different. But he's at Real, not here."
The Chelsea manager will find out tonight who his team must face in the group stages of the Champions League. He has never managed a team in the competition, although he has won the South American equivalent, the Copa Libertadores, on two occasions.
"I have a dream to win all the competitions," Scolari said. "But now it's a dream. Maybe in May, June or July it won't be a dream, it'll be a reality. I need to work very hard for this. We have the team for this. Last season Chelsea reached the final of the Champions League, we almost won the Premier League, we reached the final of the Carling Cup. Fantastic.
"If we do the same in this season, very good. I want to come first but if we come first or second, the best in the world, the best in England, the best in the cups – that's very good," Scolari declared.