Thursday 22 March 2018

Abramovich ready to offer Guardiola record £10m-a-year

IF you can't beat them, buy him. Roman Abramovich is ready to dangle an astonishing £40m carrot in front of Pep Guardiola to lure him away from Barcelona.

But Guardiola (pictured) has his own plans and is contemplating a multi-million pound raid of his own on Stamford Bridge in a bid to lure David Luis away to a new life in the Camp Nou.

Barca rate Luis at £35m and are committed to pursuing his signature during the summer, a move which is completely at odds with this latest speculation about Abramovich's desire to bring Guardiola to London.

Abramovich has been tracking Guardiola for some time and is aware that the Barca boss is close to agreeing a new one-year contract extension.

But the Russian believes that a bank-breaking £40m paid over four years might just be enough to make Guardolia stop and think.

That would make Guardiola the highest paid football manager in the world and beat his current salary by over £2m a year.

Andre Villas-Boas was paid £4.5 to leave Porto and begin his 'project' at Stamford Bridge and Abramovich had to fork out £15m in compensation.

Reports suggest that Villas-Boas walked away with payment in full and pocketed a tidy £9m on the way out the door.

But mere money has never slowed Abramovich once he settles on a target and while Guardiola has no reason to leave Barcelona, everyone has a price.

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, meanwhile, is confident the side will quickly recover lost momentum after their midweek setback at Manchester City.

The Blues face a crucial game in their bid for a top-four spot in the Premier League as they host rivals Tottenham tomorrow.

Chelsea trail fourth-placed Spurs by five points but, despite the 2-1 reverse at the Etihad Stadium, the impetus is on their side.

Spurs have collected just one point in their last four games to lose third place to Arsenal, whom they led by 10 points just a month ago.

Cahill said: "We have had good results and built some momentum of late.

"The camp is positive and we're looking to get the run going again on Saturday in what is another big game.

"We were unlucky on Wednesday.

"We were 1-0 up until the 78th minute and it is disappointing not to see that out.

"But we can't let it affect us because we have huge games coming up in the next week or so."

Chelsea expect influential captain John Terry to be fit to face Tottenham after missing the unlucky defeat in Manchester with calf cramps.

Fellow defender Branislav Ivanovic could be doubtful with a thigh injury which is being assessed by the club.

Attention will also focus on whether interim coach Roberto Di Matteo retains striker Fernando Torres -- who broke his five-month scoring duck with a brace against Leicester in the FA Cup last Sunday -- up front or recalls the in-form Didier Drogba.

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