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Blues close to finalising Ramires deal

Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins has said he expects the deal to sign Benfica midfielder Ramires will be completed "pretty shortly".

Deco joins Fluminense

With only Yossi Benayoun having arrived so far, Chelsea are looking to bolster the squad after Deco joined Joe Cole, Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti in leaving Stamford Bridge this summer.

Ramires appears certain to arrive in the near future after the clubs agreed a fee of £18.2 million, and Wilkins is hopeful he will arrive in the coming days.

"Nothing has been finalised as yet, but we are certainly in the mix for Ramires," he told Radio Five Live. "We would like him to join us and hopefully that will go through pretty shortly."

Asked if he could feature in Chelsea's opening Premier League fixture, Wilkins said: "We would like to think something like that would happen."

Brazil team-mate Kaka believes Chelsea will be making an excellent signing in Ramires.

"I am pleased that Ramires has joined a top European club, but I actually think it's pretty scary for the Premier League and for teams who are looking to win the European Cup this season," he told the Daily Star Sunday. "For me, there is no doubt that Chelsea have signed the very best young central midfield player in the world.

"Now he is at Chelsea I think he will become the best midfield player in the world within two years and will be placed in the same bracket as Claude Makelele, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira. Not only is Ramires a great player but he is a humble boy and is always willing to listen and learn from those that have been in the game a long time."

He added: "Frank Lampard still probably has another two years left at the top and I am sure he can be a great mentor to him. Those two can form a devastating partnership that nobody in the Premier League will be able to cope with.

"Ramires is the complete central midfield player. He can tackle, pass, he works hard, he is strong and he can score goals. He will make the Chelsea midfield look frightening. At such a young age, Ramires plays with no fear and playing at such a big club and in such big games won't trouble him. I don't see anybody stopping Chelsea making it two Premier League titles in a row."

Meanwhile, persistent reports have claimed Ashley Cole is determined to leave England amid interest from Real Madrid, but Wilkins has joined Carlo Ancelotti and chairman Bruce Buck in rubbishing the claims.

"Ashley is fine and he has trained extremely well with us," Wilkins said. "He only came back on the 26th, so he is not at full speed as yet, but he seems to be in a good frame of mind and there has certainly been no chat between Ashley and myself as regards him leaving."


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