John Ford
Sat 14 June 2008

Phil your boots, Scolari

Well, it seems to be happening again. As soon as Chelsea appointed Felipe Scolari as their new manager than the rumours of their Summer spending began and there have been a number of 'headline hunters' that are well and truly in Scolari's sights.

Scolari has wasted no time in ruffling feathers with one of his biggest rivals next season - Sir Alex Ferguson - after apparently telling Cristiano Ronaldo that he should move to Real Madrid. No doubt this has earned him massive kudos with the Chelsea faithful and proven early on that he won't be showing any respect to Ferguson purely down to the Scot's stature in the English game.

When not dashing any future positive relationship with the Manchester United manager, Scolari looks as though he has already begun the chase for his inaugural Summer signing with current Barcelona midfielder Deco seemingly destined for The Bridge in July.

Officials at Barca have claimed that the former Porto player will not be moving to West London this Summer but the BBC's Mike Sewell - their man in the Portugal camp for this month's European Championships - believes that many are tipping the player to make the move to Chelsea.

Sewell told the BBC that his contacts "believe Deco will go with Scolari rather than join up with old boss Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan". This follows a statement from Barcelona telling prospective buyers that Deco was free to leave the Catalan club.

Deco chose to join Barcelona four years ago ahead of the Blues but it looks as though Chelsea's climb to a Champions League Final coupled with an injury-hit season for the midfielder has boosted their chances of capturing his signature this time.

The next big name linked to Scolari's Blues is the ever prolific Fernando Torres and if Chelsea were to pull off such a coo the betting on Chelsea for next season's title would go through the roof.

Okay, so I could have picked a different photo for this one but hey, artistic license and all that.

The striker has been linked with a move to SW6 for a number of years but following Liverpool's successful bid to land the youngster last Summer, any chance of signing the Spaniard appeared to have been lost for The Blues but with a seemingly bottomless transfer kitty being put forward for Scolari, a new bid is likely - not that Liverpool are going to be willing to sell their star asset.

After a truly staggering first season in England (totalling 33 goals) it's no doubt that he is once again linked with The Blues and it's highly unlikely that other teams aren't sniffing around but the player himself and Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry have made it very clear that it's in both their interests for the player to stay on Merseyside.

Parry told a press conference that "Fernando Torres is just not for sale to anyone. It is as simple as that, really - he is not going anywhere", and after a brilliant display against Russia in Spain's opening match of Euro 2008 which has led to many people placing bets on Spain to lift the trophy at the end of this month, Torres spoke out on the interest saying that "I want to say very clearly that I'm not on the market and it is my desire to continue at Liverpool."

"I am very happy at Liverpool and want to carry on."

It seems unlikely that Torres will be moving anywhere anytime soon but another player, and arguably the biggest name of the three, is appearing as a player which Scolari - and every Chelsea fan - will focus much of his attention upon come July.

Kaka is seen as the missing piece in the puzzle for Chelsea as their search for the Champions League title continues and with both Scolari and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich keen on the player, much of the transfer budget is likely to be set aside on bringing one of world football's greatest talents to Stamford Bridge.

Leonardo, Milan's Technical Director who, like Kaka, played under Scolari during his playing days with Brazil has come forward to deny any rumour before they can gather momentum.

He stated that Kaka is a Milan player and will remain that way until the end of his career but with the player smack-bang in the middle of his peak, the Blues are set to offer a massive sum for the attacker which could force Milan's hand.

One thing which is for sure is that no matter what happens this Summer it's almost inevitable that Chelsea will be spending figures not seen since Abramovich's takeover of 2003.

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