Belfast Telegraph

Villas-Boas open to January sales

Manager Andre Villas-Boas has refused to rule out further January sales at Chelsea amid reports linking a host of his stars with moves away.

Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou and even Frank Lampard have been tipped to follow Nicolas Anelka - and probably Alex - out of Stamford Bridge when the transfer window reopens. And while Villas-Boas insisted Chelsea had "no interest" in selling anyone else next month, he admitted it was possible someone could leave.

"If any club comes with an interesting offer, we'll have to consider it. But what we are proposing is to take on the challenge of the six months ahead with these players," he said

Malouda this week publicly admitted he would be prepared to move on in search of regular first-team football, while fellow forward Kalou is seeking assurances of more game time before signing a new contract to replace the one that expires this summer.

Drogba, who is also a free agent at the end of the season, has already rejected a one-year extension to his Blues deal and he and Kalou are less than two days away from being able to pen a pre-contract agreement with a rival club.

Drogba, who was holding out for an additional two years, had declared he would not seek a January move. But his position has reportedly shifted, with the Ivorian having already been made one lucrative offer to move to China, where three clubs appear to be vying for his signature.

Asked if he was 100% sure Drogba would be at Stamford Bridge when the transfer window closed, Villas-Boas said: "You never know in these cases, because it gets excited in the market, but I would say yes."

He added: "January arrives and the player is free to start speaking to other people. It's fair to say that he has this advantage on his hands, but his integrity and values will not be questioned if he is picked for the club."

Villas-Boas claimed none of his players had asked to be allowed to leave in January other than Anelka and Alex, who both had transfer requests accepted. That saw them banished from Villas-Boas' first-team squad, but asked if the same policy would apply to anyone who followed suit, Villas-Boas said: "We might not accept a transfer request. That's the big difference.

"It would be bad signs if people wanted to leave in this way. To trade this club for a 'better' club is difficult. There are only five or six in the world with the same history, prestige, economic stability and facilities."


From Belfast Telegraph