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Joaquin invites Chelsea approach

Lance Knight2010-05-01 22:19:42 +0000 #1
Chelsea were today given encouragement to bid for Spanish winger Joaquin as boss Jose Mourinho assessed whether Scott Parker's injury blow would force him to break his transfer window pledge.

Joaquin: Betis ace (FiroFoto/GettyImages)

Mourinho had only recently maintained that, unless injuries intervened to disrupt his plans, there was no obvious reason to strengthen his large squad next month.

However, Parker has since been ruled out of action for up to three months with a broken bone in his foot, reducing Chelsea's midfield cover.

Mourinho already has a multitude of other options, but he must now reassess whether one more signing could give his title-chasing side an extra edge over rivals Arsenal and Manchester United.

Steven Gerrard is presumably the Chelsea's boss preferred option, but a summer move seems more likely, while Joaquin has been regularly linked with a possible transfer to Stamford Bridge.

The Spanish international winger is by no means a direct replacement for the hard-tackling Parker, but would give Mourinho extra attacking options in the absence of Adrian Mutu through suspension.

Real Betis president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera has already admitted that he could be tempted to sell his prize asset if the price is right, with Real Madrid also reportedly interested.

Joaquin, who is - perhaps crucially - not cup-tied for European football, has now added to the speculation by admitting he would be willing to leave Seville next month.

'I'll go if we are all in agreement - Chelsea, who are the side that everyone is talking about, the club and me,' he told Spanish newspaper Marca.

'I signed a contract to stay here but, if I have to leave, then I will go and that's that. I have always made it clear I don't mind where I go, although as a footballer I want to win things - and I will go if the president wants me to.'

Joaquin's celebrations after setting up Betis' equaliser in Sunday's Seville derby saw him kiss the club badge on his shirt with added emphasis, an action that some in Spain have interpreted as a farewell gesture.

Mourinho may yet simply stick to his guns, although Parker's absence could ensure that Joe Cole stays at Stamford Bridge, at least until the end of the season, despite potential interest from Southampton and Tottenham in a loan deal.

The likes of Cole, Alexei Smertin and Geremi may now be handed a chance to force their way back into the reckoning at Stamford Bridge.

While Frank Lampard, Tiago and Claude Makelele have dominated the trio of central midfield positions, with Arjen Robben and Damien Duff preferred out wide, Mourinho may choose to rotate his squad over the festive period.

He also has an extra obstacle to overcome on Boxing Day against Aston Villa, with the new Stamford Bridge pitch having failed to settle down in time for last weekend's win against Norwich.

Mourinho told Chelsea TV: 'The pitch was bad but it was just four or five days old. The groundsman is very good but he is not able to do miracles.

'We changed the pitch because the old pitch was bad and this one will be good in the future but at the moment it is not. The players suffer the consequences of that.

'Maybe it can be better against Aston Villa on Boxing Day and after that we have two away games. We changed it because we need a good pitch to play but we must have a little patience.'

Lance Knight2010-05-01 22:25:19 +0000 #2
Chelsea target Joaquin 'going nowhere'

Chelsea's hopes of snapping up Spain winger Joaquin in the January transfer window look to have been dashed by Real Betis president Manuel Ruiz de Lopera.

An early strike from Joaquin was enough to ensure 10-man Betis leapfrogged Atletico Madrid up to sixth place in the Primera Liga standings with a 1-0 win in Seville last night.

Joaquin, who was undoubtedly the star of the show, pounced with just seven minutes on the clock to secure a hard-fought victory.

Ruiz de Lopera later stated: 'I am going to make the fans happy. The have asked me not to let him go and that is what I am going to do.

'We have already turned down a very large offer, the largest ever for a player in this city. We will not study any more offers this season,' quotes Spanish newspaper Marca.

The 23-year-old Joaquin looked to have given Chelsea the green light to move in for him yesterday, but he added: 'I have never said that I was going to leave.

'If the president says that I am staying, I have always said he will have the final word.'



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