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Chelsea remain the team to beat

By ESPN Staff

Sheva: Chelsea pursued me for three years

Andriy Shevchenko claims the persistence of Roman Abramovich and the approval of his wife were behind his decision to swap AC Milan for Chelsea.

The Ukraine striker became British football's costliest signing when he completed a £30million move this summer.

Shevchenko revealed for three years the Russian billionaire owner of Chelsea had tried and failed to persuade him to join him.

But having spoken to his American wife Kristen, who is expecting another baby, and seeing their son Jordan reach 20 months, he decided the time was right to give in to Abramovich's advances.

Shevchenko said: 'Because of his persistence and as my life situation changed I decided the time was right.

'For the past three years the signals I have got are that Chelsea wanted me to play for them.

'I talked very closely with my wife about this.

'I have a boy and another child on the way and this was a decision we took together.

'When Roman Abramovich first approached me about coming to Chelsea I always found him welcome and happy there at Milan.

'Chelsea have been consistently wanting me for the past three years and that is something that meant a lot.

'I wanted to go somewhere that I felt I would be welcome.'

But the 29-year-old denies he and his wife have a special relationship with Abramovich.

There were suggestions that Shevchenko was a signing of the Russian oil tycoon, and not manager Jose Mourinho.

But Shevchenko added: 'I don't want to use the friendship because that's such a strong word.

'He is the owner of the club so you must always maintain a professional attitude.

'He asked did I want to come and play for his club but I've never had dinner with Mr Abramovich and our wives have never had dinner together. It's a professional relationship and it's always been one.

'That will continue. Who knows what the future holds? But I don't believe I am going to suddenly start having dinner with the owner.

'I find these things odd because we have never socialised before and never been socially friends.

'My personal and private life will always remain personal and private.

'I have told you the truth about the relationship so I don't see any issues.'