The Russian oligarch is seriously interested in seeing Chelsea win
After Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought London's football club Chelsea he gave several short interviews to the British mass media and then retreated into the shadow. On July 9, he finally called on the training camp of his club in Harlington to get acquainted with the players and the coaches.
Claudio Ranieri was pleased with the meeting with the new boss; indeed, after a rather long conversation the Italian player finally learnt that he would remain the coach of the club. However, this news is not a sensation at all. The matter of the fact is that financial problems of the previous owner of the club seriously hampered the sports activity of the club. Within the past off-season Chelsea bought no prominent players, however it managed to enter into the Champions League. At least for this merit Ranieri deserves the right to remain the coach of the team.
While prospective meeting with the new boss was not so troubling for the Italian coach, the same meeting seemed to be disturbing for Chelsea players. It is quite obvious that the new boss will soon buy new players, which in its turn means that some of the Chelsea players will be shifted to the reserve or will play in transfers.
During the visit to the Chelsea training base Roman Abramovich behaved rather diplomatically. After a conversation with the coach, he met with the players, voiced his plans concerning the future of the club and promised that all players would be given an opportunity to get into the principal group of the club. It seems that really very strong competition is coming for Chelsea, which is quite normal for a sports club.
The visit to Harlington has probably put to rest a number of issues: it put an end to persistent rumors saying that Svan Goran Eriksson might be appointed Chelsea coach. The sensational supposition immediately spread all over the world after Roman Abramovich met with the Swedish coach in his apartment in Knightsbridge. The fact of the meeting immediately became known, that is why the parties had to explain that the coach of the English football team wouldn't quit his post. The rumors finally stopped after a confession made by Israeli agent Pini Zahavi, the man who introduced Roman Abramovich to the ex-owner of Chelsea Ken Bates; he is also known as a dealer of the upper ten among people related to football. Pini Zahavi admitted it was he who introduced Eriksson to the Russian businessman, but the subject of the meeting wasn't connected with professional cooperation. So, he said that Ranieri will remain the coach of Chelsea.
The Evening Standard reports with reference to "sources related to Abramovich" that before Eriksson left for Sweden for a vacation, he once again met with Roman Abramovich in Moscow. If so, the meeting (or meetings) was organized with a long-range goal in mind. The Europe Championship is to take place soon; many coaches of national teams lose their positions after such events. If Ranieri won't be a success this season (to tell the truth the team didn't gain grand victories under his guidance), and if Eriksson quits the English football team, then some changes in the football club Chelsea may take place.
The new owner of the football club is seriously anxious about Chelsea's near-term outlook which is proved by revived activity of the club's scouts responsible for the reserve of the team. They are holding active negotiations on purchase of up-and-coming football stars all over the world. It is said that forward of the Armenian youth team Edgar Manucharyan, 16, who scored two goals in January at the CIS Champions Cup, is among these stars.
However, the present-day problems are more pressing now than far-reaching plans. For the time being, Chelsea has bought no players. A list of players which are said to be probable candidates to be bought by Chelsea is speedily increasing. Judging by publications in British newspaper, almost the whole of the English football team may become members of Chelsea soon. These are just idle talks so far. There is only one player who may be included in Chelsea and who is worth particular attention.
In three days after the purchase of the shares of the London football club, rumor immediately spread that the new owners wanted to have Everton forward Wayne Rooney in the club. It was reported that 30 million pounds ($48.5 million) were allegedly offered for the 17-year-old smart guy. Everton immediately denied the information (the same way as some time before Milan did when similar rumors concerned Nesta) and declared that Rooney wouldn't be sold not for the world.
At the beginning of the past week the whole of Liverpool was disappointed to learn that life and health of Rooney were in danger. It was reported that the young football player was threatened by two criminal clans of London and Liverpool who demanded that the player must share his earnings with them (at the age of 17, Rooney's annual income makes up over 2 million pounds). The Everton management appealed to the police for investigation of the blackmailing. However, the police studied the case within a couple of days and said there were no serious grounds for anxiety.
It is highly likely that Glenn Johnson from West Ham will be the first player that Chelsea is to buy this off-season. The clubs have already arranged for the sum of the deal that is not reported. In the nearest time, the 18-year-old full-back of the English youth team will hold negotiations with Chelsea management and discuss details of the contract.