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Chelsea are preparing to cut their losses and sell Branislav Ivanovic to AC Milan. The Serbia defender was signed for £9.7 million from Lokomotiv Moscow in January, but is yet to play for the first team. The deal for the 24-year-old is expected to be on an initial one-year loan, with the option of a permanent transfer next summer.

Milan have decided to make the move after losing 5-0 to Chelsea and 1-0 to Manchester City in pre-season matches, even though Carlo Ancelotti, the coach, has said that he does not rate Ivanovic. Milan have also been linked with Alex Silva, the São Paolo defender. “Who do I prefer?†Ancelotti said. “To be honest, neither of them.â€

Claudio Pizarro could also be leaving Stamford Bridge. Hull City and Stoke City are interested in the Peru forward, who scored only twice last season. “It's a very expensive option,†Phil Brown, the Hull manager, said.

Everton's hopes of signing Alan Smith from Newcastle United hung in the balance last night. The Merseyside club are willing to pay about £2 million for Smith, but they are unsure whether the deal will go through,having received mixed messages from Newcastle. David Moyes, the Everton manager, is more confident of securing deals to sign Stephane M'Bia, the Rennes midfield player, and Vágner Love, the Brazil forward, from CSKA Moscow, the latter initially on a season-long loan.

Long shots

Arsenal and Everton have been told by Marseilles that they need to pay £20 million to sign Lorik Cana, the Albania midfield player and Marseilles captain. “It's a pipe dream,†Papé Diouf, the Marseilles president, said.

Florent Malouda has told AS Roma that he does not want to leave Chelsea. The France winger has struggled since he moved from Lyons for £13.5 million last summer. “I want to stay and fight for my place,†he said.

Dead certs

Younès Kaboul has completed his £6 million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Portsmouth and has signed a four-year contract, after passing a medicalat Fratton Park. “Everyone in the papers was saying I was going to Sunderland or Aston Villa, but I only ever wanted to come here,†the 22-year-old defender said. “It's a good opportunity for me. because the club has a lot of ambition.I think Portsmouth are a top-five Premier League side andI believe I can achieve what I want to achieve at this club.â€

Ipswich Town have signed Iván Campo on a two-year deal. The 34-year-old former Real Madrid midfield player was released by Bolton Wanderers at the end of last season.

Crystal Palace have signed John Oster, the former Reading midfield player, and Leandre Griffit, the former Southampton winger, on short-term contracts until January. -The Times Newspaper
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