Chelsea are believed to have finally agreed a deal in principle with Aston Villa over the £5.5 million transfer of midfielder Steve Sidwell.
But the player may yet want to bide his time before his anticipated move as he is adamant he wants to meet with new boss Luiz Felipe Scolari at Stamford Bridge before making a final decision on his future.
There is also the small sticking point of an undisclosed amount of compensation which Sidwell feels he is owed as Chelsea look to offload the former Reading player who still has three years of his current contract to run.
Sidwell’s agent, Eric Walters, last night said he understood Villa’s bid had finally been agreed “informally” by Chelsea after the 25-year-old arrived back from holiday. He said: “I understand Chelsea have not formally agreed yet but there has been some sort of informal agreement. Nothing has been finalised yet and Steve and I have had a good laugh at some of the speculation which suggests this deal is done and a move imminent.
“Steve feels Villa are a very, very good club and would offer a very good future for him but he has also again insisted that he is no rush to leave Chelsea. There is a new manager coming in and he would at least like to meet with him over the next couple of weeks to discuss his future in person.”
Walters added: “There is also compensation. Steve has three years left of his contract and is entitled to some compensation if Chelsea agree to part with him. He has reiterated he would be happy to stay at the club and fight for his place but they are now suggesting they want him to go and that is the club’s behest.”
Meanwhile, Aston Villa may have emerged last night as among the front-runners for Everton striker Andy Johnson but manager Martin O’Neill may have a job on his hands.
The former Birmingham City and Crystal Palace star recently told reporters in Birmingham during the visit of former World Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson that he would only consider a move to West Ham should Everton agree to sell him.
United are said to be keen on the England striker along with Villa, Wigan Atheltic and Middlesbrough. But Johnson said just a fortnight ago that if his love affair with Everton drew to a close, he would only consider a move to the capital with West Ham his preferred destination.
West Ham boss Alan Curbishley is understood to want Johnson - who cost the Toffees £8.6 million from Palace two seasons ago - to partner striker Dean Ashton.
The fact Johnson played for Villa’s Second City rivals Birmingham City would certainly not ingratiate him to Villa supporters should he consider the move. The striker always made a point of wild celebrations when scoring for Blues against their rivals.