The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Argentine ace set for Chelsea move

London: Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron could be about to end his disappointing spell at Premiership champions Manchester United and join Chelsea according to a report on Sunday.

The Observer says that United are prepared to accept a bid of £14 million ($23 million) — half of what they paid Lazio two years ago — for Veron, who has rarely showed the form he did for the Italian club when coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson they won the 2000 Serie A title.

It looks set to fuel more speculation on Eriksson’s future as he had to deny publicly last week that he was going to leave the England post for Chelsea after it was revealed he had been seen with the club’s new billionare Russian owner Roman Abramovich and influential agent Pini Zahavi.

According to the report, sources from United have told them that the transfer for the 28-year-old player known as the ‘little witch’ is likely to be completed this week as Abramovich uses his billions accrued in the oil business to strengthen his squad.

The agent for the deal is Zahavi, a close friend of United manager Alex Ferguson, Abramovich’s and Eriksson’s and who not only organised the Russian’s purchase of Chelsea but also last week’s deals which saw West Ham defender Glen Johnson and Real Madrid’s Cameroon international Geremi arrive at the ‘Blues’.

Eriksson has been the guiding light to Veron throughout his career bringing him to Sampdoria as a 21-year-old and then signing him when he took over at Lazio.

It was the Swede who also advised the 52-time capped player and veteran of two World Cups to move to Manchester United and not Inter Milan in 2001 and Veron is on the record for saying his best club football came under Eriksson.

Eriksson’s employers took the extraordinary step on Sunday of re-issuing his statement confirming his commitment to the England post and he would not be joining Chelsea — though the Observer believes that he will eventually take over when England are eliminated from the Euro 2004 championships.

“I can confirm that last week I met with Pini Zahavi and the new owner of Chelsea Football Club — Roman Abramovich. The meeting took place at Mr Abramovich’s property in London,” Eriksson said in a statement.

“Due to the intense media profile given to Mr Abramovich’s involvement with Chelsea, I accept that this meeting may create unfortunate speculation. Therefore, I would like to once again categorically reaffirm my total commitment to my role as England head coach.” (AFP)

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