Mikel to sign new Blues deal
John Obi Mikel is ready to commit his long-term future to Chelsea. The Nigerian midfielder is on the brink of signing a new five-year contract, according to his agent.
The 22-year-old, having established himself as a first-team regular last season, has only one year remaining on his current deal. The new contract is believed to increase his weekly salary to around £70,000 a week.
"He will sign the deal,'' said his agent John Shittu. "Some of the club officials were away but they were expected back last weekend. As soon as everybody is in, we will sign the new contract.
"It is a very good deal for him and would put him on a par with some of the top earners in the club.''
Mikel is expected to cut short his summer break by a few days to sign the new papers. Chelsea have already secured Florent Malouda on a new contract and Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Joe Cole and Alex are expected to follow suit.
The Blues have already paid £18million for CSKA Moscow left-back Yuri Zhirkov and he has been tipped to make a major impact in the Premier League by Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko.
The 25-year-old will move to Stamford Bridge subject to a medical and finalising personal terms, and Pavlyuchenko believes his Russia team-mate will be a big success in England.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime offer and you have to say yes,'' said Pavlyuchenko.
"Zhirkov is a great professional. He could become a team leader. The only problem is his knowledge of the English language. If he masters that, all will be well.''
Meanwhile, new coach Carlo Ancelotti has revealed a "creative player'' is high on his wishlist of potential squad reinforcements.
The highly-experienced Italian believes there is more than one way to bring about attractive, winning football - but he certainly has not ruled out another new signing as a preferred option.
"I think Chelsea is a strong team, a great team, a physical team that plays very well and can be improved with some creative players,'' said Ancelotti. "We are looking for these players.
"But you can be creative not only with creative players. You can be creative with creative ideas and a creative organisation. You can change the idea of the team with the same players.
"I would like to have a team that plays well, plays good, creative football and naturally I would like to win. For a coach it is important to win but it is important to build a team with good characteristics, to play well, to play with organisation.''
Captain John Terry continues to be linked with a move to Manchester City but Ancelotti, who watched Kaka reject overtures from the English club, believes they will not attract the top players because they are not in the Champions League.
Last January it looked briefly as if City would be Kaka's new home before he opted to stay at AC Milan for the remainder of the Ancelotti reign - he has since joined Real Madrid.
"Manchester City was very close to Kaka,'' admitted Ancelotti. "But the difficulty is that Manchester City don't play in the Champions League and for players it is important to play in the Champions League. Plus football is not only salaries, it is emotion, passion, it is many other things.
Ancelotti is Chelsea's fifth manager since Jose Mourinho left in September 2007 - following in the footsteps of Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Ray Wilkins and Guus Hiddink.
The Italian senses a desire for him to bring to an end the recent rapid turnover of managers.
"We want to change this situation,'' added Ancelotti. "I saw in this month all the people that work in this club and I feel there is a good feeling with me and I can do great work here.
"I think that I, (owner) Roman (Abramovich) and the club have the same objectives to do very well in this season and the next seasons.''