Chelsea agree deal with Barca for Belletti

August 23, 2007

Chelsea's search for a right-back has finished with the signing of Juliano Belletti from Barcelona on a three-year deal.

After declaring an interest in Dani Alves but not agreeing a fee with Sevilla, Chelsea closed in on Belletti - underlining chairman Bruce Buck's insistence that they would not be held to ransom in any transfer deal.

Buck has also described Arjen Robben's move to Real Madrid as a 'very good business result', with Jose Mourinho's squad taking shape as Chelsea look to win back the Premier League title.

Robben's move to Spain is worth around double the £12million Chelsea paid PSV Eindhoven in 2004 for the Holland winger - a healthy return for a player who did not want to stay at Stamford Bridge.

'Value is not the right word - we had a very good business result there,' said Buck.

'We pretty much doubled our money in terms of the transfer fee we paid three years ago.'

Chelsea's transfer policy has shifted since Roman Abramovich first became owner, with chief executive Peter Kenyon outlining in the summer that money is available for the right players at the right price.

'It goes both ways in terms of not being held ransom, in respect to players we might be selling and not being held ransom in respect to players we might be buying,' said Buck.

'In all those situations we are looking to get the price we think is appropriate, either buying a player or selling a player.'

Buck added: 'In the first year we spent quite a bit of money because we felt we had catch-up to do.

'Always, the plan was for the amount we spent on aggregate for transfers each 'window' to go down every time. It has.

'It just makes sense for the club - we're looking to bring more players through the academy, which takes time to implement.

'Over time I think we'll have a better strategy towards spending money during transfer windows.'

Alves, who has been tipped to join Robben in Madrid, is seen as one of the most exciting full-backs in Europe. But in Belletti Chelsea have a 31-year-old, also Brazilian, who scored the winning goal in the Champions League final two seasons ago.

Robben's departure, meanwhile, came despite Chelsea wanting the winger to stay - although losing him has been softened by Florent Malouda's early-season form.

'Jose said when we were in the US, and I've said many times, we wanted Arjen to stay,' Buck added.

'We think he's a very good player - and he's made a real contribution to Chelsea Football Club. For reasons only he can answer, he wanted to leave. We weren't going to let him leave unless there was an appropriate business resolution.

'Peter Kenyon did some very good business there. We wish him [Robben] well.'

Buck was speaking at the launch of a team of former players, with Chelsea Old Boys playing against the West Ham Team of '86 at Tooting and Mitcham FC this Sunday.

The project, which will give its proceeds to the Chelsea Past Players' Trust, has been seen as another sign of Abramovich's commitment to the club.

'Roman is 100% committed to this club and has been since July 1, 2003,' said Buck.

'We see no change in that in the foreseeable future.'

Former Chelsea player Clive Walker said: 'We understand that football has moved on.

'These guys should earn as much as they can, because there is a long time out of football.

'These guys will not have to worry about their future - some of the guys through the 70s and 80s have fallen on hard times.'