Thats just effing great.
Chelsea will continue their flurry of pre-World Cup spending by signing the Nigeria international John Obi Mikel in the next 24 hours. The 19-year-old's arrival at Stamford Bridge ends a messy and protracted transfer dispute involving the Premiership champions and Manchester United, who thought last year they had won the race to buy the midfielder.
A significant proportion of the money that Chelsea pay Mikel's previous club Lyn Oslo will be passed on to United as compensation because the player signed a pre-contract agreement in April 2005 to move to Old Trafford. Mikel subsequently announced he had been pressured into doing so and wanted to join Chelsea, who were convinced they had a verbal commitment from the teenager to join them.
The saga has featured claims of death threats, a Fifa investigation and accusations from United's assistant manager Carlos Queiroz that Chelsea had taken football into the "jungle". Jose Mourinho, has already signed Andriy Shevchenko and Salomon Kalou this week after getting Michael Ballack earlier last month.
Mikel played in the African Nations Cup but little club football over the past year because of the transfer dispute. He has described Mourinho as "a brilliant coach and a brilliant man", adding: "I think Chelsea is going to be the best place for me."
Mourinho has hinted he will regularly play 4-4-2 next season, with Shevchenko and Didier Drogba up front. Ballack will probably be at the tip of a midfield diamond. "Andriy has a lot of times played 4-4-2 in Milan like Chelsea do a lot of times, with a diamond and two strikers."
And he emphasised on Chelsea TV Shevchenko's arrival will not influence him over Drogba. "People were speaking about ... Didier Drogba to go but that was never the idea. They are two strikers with very different qualities. Andriy has creativity, speed with the ball, movement, intelligence, an amazing player. Didier is strong, powerful, a fighter, fantastic in creating spaces for other people to score."
Morten Gamst Pedersen is to be offered a new long-term deal by Blackburn, doubling the Norwegian's £10,000-a-week pay, to fend off interest from Tottenham.