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Aug 22, 2008

Chelsea must pay up to end Robinho saga

Robinho's protracted transfer to Chelsea finally looks like being concluded as the Brazilian has now made it clear that he is interested in a move to West London.

With a Brazilian manager now in the hot-seat at Stamford Bridge, it should come as no surprise that a host of Samba stars have been linked with moves to Chelsea, including the World Player of the Year, Kaka.

Yet while a £78million bid for the AC Milan playmaker might all be tabloid talk, Chelsea's pursuit of Robinho has been public knowledge from the start.

A £19.7million bid at the start of the month was followed by Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon's insistence that the Brazilian was the club's top transfer target for the summer; while the Brazilian's mouthpiece and agent, Wagner Ribeiro, has claimed that the financial rewards on offer at Chelsea are attractive to his client.

It is understandable that the agent wants the best deal for his player (while also negotiating a hefty cut of any signing on fee involved for himself) and the contract reported to be on the table for Robinho will double his Real Madrid wages, yet Chelsea will be forced to fork out a £31.7million transfer fee.

Robinho's arrival would certainly encourage the kind of attractive football that owner Roman Abramovich is keen to bring back to the Bridge, but it looks likely that the Russian will have to pay over the odds again in order to secure his services.

Having spent a similar amount on flop Andrei Shevchenko, Abramovich may be reluctant to put his hand in his pocket to break the British transfer record again. Add to that the fact that Chelsea already boast a host of talented wingers in Joe Cole, Florent Malouda, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Salmon Kalou and you begin to wonder if it's really the right deal for Chelsea.

Talented as he is, Robinho has not consistently shown the kind of form to justify such a huge price-tag in his three seasons at the Bernabeu. The 24-year-old has the potential to set the Premier League alight, although he will need to be given time to adjust to the physical nature of the English game and his arrival will surely spell the end for one of Chelsea's current wide-men - not helping the dressing room atmosphere.

An inflated transfer fee brings pressure, as Shevchenko can attest. Chelsea fans will hope that if they do capture the Brazilan, that he does not follow the same route.

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