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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Chelsea chief Kenyon: Ballack not for sale

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has warned Europe's top clubs that Michael Ballack is not for sale.

The Chelsea chief, speaking at the launch of a new sponsorship tie-up with Etihad Airways, also confirmed that the Germany captain's ankle injury was the sole reason for his absence from their Champions League squad.

Ballack's absence sparked fresh speculation that the midfielder would be sold in January's transfer window with Real Madrid favourites to land him.

But Kenyon insisted that Ballack will not be sold.

Kenyon declared: 'We should kill that one, not just for now but for January. There has been no discussions, the decision to leave Michael out of the squad is purely medical.

'Any suggestion it is surrounding a transfer in January is equal rubbish. That is just something that is not helpful to the player or the club and we should concentrate on the facts.'

Kenyon also spelled out the reasons for Ballack's omission and said the club were working hard with medical experts from Germany and around the globe to get him back on the pitch.

Kenyon added: 'There is no confusion, absolutely no confusion. The German medical team, our medical team and the player all know what the situation is.

'There's been several huge and incorrect misinterpretations going on with regards to Michael Ballack.

'The situation is very clear, he's injured. He's been injured for close to five months and he's still injured.

'Our only concern as Chelsea is getting him back fit to start playing, initially for Chelsea and then for Germany.

'It was unclear and it is still unclear when he will be available to return to play football and we as a football club, which is medical team and football club in general, took a decision with regards to his inclusion in the Champions League squad.

'It was all medically based. Since the start of Michael's injury there has been close co-operation and dialogue between our medical staff in which we've got not 100% faith but 200% faith and a whole array of specialists, not just from Germany but from around the world.

'There is no misinterpretation, there is no different diagnosis and 100% agreement on his rehab. Michael is fully aware and has bought into that situation.

'I have spoken to all parties concerned and as of today we all know where we are going and what our objectives are.

'We would like to draw a line under this situation once and for all. We would like to move on.'