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Ricardo Carvalho

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Chelsea are close to completing a deal for Porto defender Ricardo Carvalho, BBC Sport understands.

He was part of the Porto team that won the Champions League last season - a feat masterminded by Jose Mourinho, who has since become Chelsea boss.

Carvalho is believed to be set to fly to London to seal an initial £17m deal.

The Blues have been looking to strengthen their defence since the exit of Marcel Desailly, who had his contract cancelled by mutual consent.

Carvalho, who has stated he wants to leave Porto, has also been linked with a switch to Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants offered a reported £7m for the 26-year-old, a bid that fell a long way short of Porto's £20m asking price.

Since beating Monaco 3-0 in the Champions League final, Porto have lost coach Mourinho and defender Paulo Ferreira to Chelsea, while midfield playmaker Deco has joined Barcelona.

Carvalho enjoyed an outstanding Euro 2004 after replacing skipper Fernando Couto in the heart of Portugal's defence.


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Tuesday 27th July 2004

Ricardo Carvalho has visited London to have a medical after Porto reluctantly agreed to cave in to Chelsea's financial power.

Jose Mourinho, who claimed he did not want to raid his former club again after snaring full back Paulo Ferreira, pinpointed Carvalho as his first choice target to replace Marcel Desailly within his squad.

The Portugal international was outstanding when handed his chance to shine in Euro 2004 and was also wanted by Real Madrid.

Although the European champions insisted they did not want to lose another of their key figures, with Deco also leaving to join Barcelona, a deal worth around €30 million is understood to have been agreed between the two parties.

The 26-year-old travelled to England on Monday night and is expected to wrap up the transfer soon following positive talks involving chief executive Peter Kenyon.

Mourinho had also stipulated that he wanted his transfer business concluded before flying to the United States as he clinched a double swoop for Didier Drogba and Tiago Mendes.

However, Chelsea looked short of numbers in the centre of their defence and Roman Abramovich's fortune has ensured the new coach has had another of his wishes granted.

Porto will spend some of their latest windfall on Santos starlet Diego with the Brazilian due to sign a four-year contract at Estadio do Dragao.

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