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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
Read
By ESPN Staff

Valencia complete deal for Chelsea's Del Horno

Valencia have completed the signing of full-back Asier del Horno from Chelsea.

The clubs agreed on a fee - thought to be £4.8million - for Del Horno, and he successfully agreed personal terms with the Primera Liga club, signing a six-year contract to replace Fabio Aurelio after the Brazilian's move to Liverpool.

The 25-year-old joined Premiership champions Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao for £8million last summer but struggled to hold down a regular place in Jose Mourinho's side.

He played a part in Chelsea winning their second successive Premiership title but could now be replaced at Stamford Bridge by Arsenal and England left-back Ashley Cole.

Spanish giants Valencia announced the signing on their club website and declared that Del Horno would be paraded alongside fellow new recruit Fernando Morientes on Monday.

Chelsea lose over £3million on Spain international Del Horno, who was sent off for a clumsy challenge on Lionel Messi in the 2-1 Champions League defeat by Barcelona in February.

His departure has left Wayne Bridge as the only recognised left-back at Stamford Bridge, although French central defender William Gallas can play in the position and was often used in place of Del Horno last season.

With Del Horno gone, Mourinho has freed up space in the squad for Cole to complete his reported £16million transfer, which could go through in the coming week.

Cole fits the bill as a world-class full-back, with his return to fitness and form in the World Cup underlining his credentials.

Bridge has been given a public vote of confidence with Mourinho praising his condition after a loan spell at Fulham and he looks set to stay with the Barclays Premiership champions.

Mourinho, speaking at the launch of the club's new kit on Thursday, refused to comment on speculation linking him with Cole but did say Chelsea would buy a replacement should Del Horno leave.

'Ashley Cole is an Arsenal player. It's not correct to say anything about him,' he said.

'We have Wayne Bridge back. His spirit at Fulham was good and it was a good move for him and for us. If we sell Del Horno we will have a space in our squad.

'But if Del Horno goes back to Spain we will need a good left-back. The transfer window is open and for sure we'll have two left-backs.'