One of the wildest rumours circling football at the moment is Ronaldinho heading to Chelsea come January. The Brazilian has not been enjoying his best of seasons this year and claims suggest that Roman Abramovich is ready to dig deep into that bulging wallet of his to entice him to London.
There were reports last summer that Abramovich had met with Ronaldinho’s agent brother Roberto de Assis Moreira to set up a deal and is keen to meet again in January for further talks. Abramovich’s biggest aim is to win the Champions League, something he feels may be achievable with the talented Brazilian in the side.
The playmaker has a whopping £85m buy out clause in his contract so if the deal were to ever go ahead you can expect it to be the most expensive transfer ever in football history. Although Barcelona have already rejected a £50m offer from Chelsea in the past, the Brazilian is said to be feeling unhappy at Barca and is considering a fresh challenge. Would he fit into the Chelsea team though? Just look at what’s happened to Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchencko, two of the world’s finest footballers.
The player himself has rejected claims that he is going to join the Londoner’s by telling Spanish newspaper El Mundo, “Not Chelsea or Milan. I want to stay at Barcelona, that is my wish.” With the arrival of Thierry Henry in the summer, and the likes of Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto’o also in attack, Ronaldinho will have to fight for his place every week if he is to start ever game. At Chelsea, he would be guaranteed first team football week in, week out.
Chelsea’s new number two, Henk Ten Cate used to be Frank Rijkaard’s assistant manager at Barcelona. There have been suggestions that he’s been trying to lure the player to Chelsea, something which he’s vehemently denied. “One newspaper wrote that I talked to Ronaldinho to bring him to Chelsea and this is a big lie, it is false, totally false,” Ten Cate told El Mundo Deportivo. True statements or are they all just trying to play it down so the news doesn’t attract too much media attention?
Whatever the cost Abramovich has said he will back Avram Grant all the way in order to land his number one target. After that — next stop Champions League winners. ‘Money would be no object’ is the Russian billionaire’s philosophy in landing the Brazilian who twice won the World Player of the Year title. However many millions more the oligarch will have to spend, he will consider it money well spent. One of the main reasons the relationship with Jose Mourinho broke down was Chelsea’s playing style. Rather than scraping wins he wanted the team to be playing entertaining, world class football — and in Ronaldinho, whom many consider to be one of (if not the) best player(s) in the world, he would definitely bring their game up to another level.
The Catalan giants’ sporting director, Txiki Berguiristain, told a Spanish radio station recently, “We do not want to sell him. Ronaldinho is our player and I am totally convinced that he will remain at the club.” They sound like words of hope to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chelsea were to make an outrageous bid for him in January and Barcelona would be fools to turn down an offer of the amounts being spoken, despite how much they want to keep him. Abramovich is a shopaholic and sooner or later gets what he wants! The real question is if the team could bring out the best of Ronaldinho’s abilities or whether it would be a case of wasted talent again, this time at a much, much higher cost?