x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ancelotti happy to stick not twist

It is not the players who have come and gone, but rather those who have stayed where they are that really matter after the summer's transfer merry-go-round.

Chelsea's Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti at a press conference at the Chelsea training ground in Cobham, Surrey, on Friday.
Chelsea's Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti at a press conference at the Chelsea training ground in Cobham, Surrey, on Friday.

It is not the players who have come and gone, but rather those who have stayed where they are that really matter after the summer's transfer merry-go-round, according to Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti. For while all Chelsea's usual title rivals have lost major players - Manchester United in Cristiano Ronaldo, Liverpool in Xabi Alonso and Arsenal in Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure - the Italian has managed to keep his entire squad together while strengthening around the edges.

Chelsea have signed Ross Turnbull, Daniel Sturridge and Yuri Zhirkov this summer. The Italian is more than happy with the trio and says he will not bring in any more players this summer, despite the club being consistently linked with moves for Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich and AC Milan's Andrea Pirlo. "I think it's an advantage that we have the same group, same players as they have a very good relationship," said Ancelotti ahead of today's Community Shield game against United.

"Zhirkov is a very good international and Sturridge is a young player while Turnbull is a good goalkeeper - if we don't need to buy, then we stay with these players. It is more important not to lose a player. Andrea Pirlo was not necessary, he was necessary for Milan." Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani passed a medical on Friday night and finalised a £20million (Dh122m) move to Liverpool on a five-year contract.

Manager Rafael Benitez identified Italy international Aquilani, 25, as his preferred replacement for Alonso, who joined Real Madrid for around £30m. Aquilani dispelled fears over the ankle injury that needed surgery this summer and restricted his appearances for the Serie A club last season, but considering he has only just returned to training, it seems unlikely he will be fit to face Tottenham next Sunday in the Premier League season opener.

Meanwhile, Habib Beye expressed his pride at joining Aston Villa on a three-year deal from troubled Newcastle. The Senegal international right-back, 31, who arrived for an undisclosed fee, told AVTV: "I was really happy when my agent told me Villa were interested. I just said 'Get it done'. I wanted to sign for this club. It's going to be great working for Martin O'Neill because Villa have a great team. I am so proud now to play here."

twoods@thenational.ae