Crespo-to-Inter deal saves Chelsea £10m

August 8, 2006

Chelsea will save £10million over two years if Hernan Crespo sees out the remainder of his Blues career with Inter Milan.

Crespo left Chelsea to rejoin his former club on a two-year loan deal, although the Premiership champions can recall the Argentina striker after 12 months.

The 31-year-old failed to adapt to life in England and unless Chelsea recall the player in a year's time, he will stay in Italy until the end of his contract with Jose Mourinho's men.

That will enable Chelsea to make a gross saving of £10million in wages during the two-year period as the striker is currently earning £5million a year at Stamford Bridge.

With Crespo's salary off the wage bill, Mourinho can set about the task of replacing him, with Inter's Obafemi Martins among the players being targeted by the Londoners.

The Nigeria forward requested a transfer after hearing of Crespo's arrival and Chelsea, along with Tottenham and Newcastle, will keep a close eye on developments concerning the £15million-rated youngster.

But while Martins was adamant he wanted to leave Inter, there was no hiding Crespo's delight at securing his loan deal.

Crespo declared: 'I feel an incredible joy. I can't wait to start and I know I will have many responsibilities. The pressure has never frightened me,' he told the Italian club's official website, www.inter.it.

'I hope and want to do well, very well. I am back at Inter, a club and a team with which I had a very intense rapport that I have always respected.

'It was hard when I left to join Chelsea, I still remember that I cried when leaving Appiano Gentile (Inter's training ground).

'What I felt then was like leaving a big family and thinking I would not have another chance. But I have it now and I'm keeping hold of it.

'For me and for my career, being back at Inter and seeing my name linked to all the big European clubs is a reason to be proud. I will put myself at the service of the team and the coach, I will always play with passion and give my all.'

Crespo found it increasingly hard to settle in London and his unhappiness was typified by a poor opening season with the Blues.

He was then allowed to join Inter's fierce rivals AC Milan on a season-long loan and helped them to reach the Champions League final - losing out on penalties to Liverpool in one of the most incredible European games ever witnessed.

Crespo scored twice against Rafael Benitez's triumphant Liverpool side before returning to Chelsea where he played relatively regularly under Mourinho last season.

But as Chelsea sealed their second successive Premiership crown, Crespo made it clear his heart remained set on a return to Italy and he thanked Chelsea for their understanding.

Crespo added: 'I have to thank Chelsea, the chairman and the coach because they understood what I wanted as a man and they have made me happy.

'I have a special, sentimental and now legal relationship with Italy. I am officially an Italian citizen. I have an Italian wife and two Milanese daughters, Nicole and Sofia. They are at home here.'