Chelsea and Bolton in formal talks over Anelka

The Times are today running with an exclusive that Chelsea and Bolton have entered into formal negotiations regarding Trotters striker Nicolas Anelka. The French international has been the subject of transfer rumours for many weeks and, with the Blues certain to be missing Didier Drogba for at least another month, it appears they are close to landing a suitable replacement.

The approach was made before the new buying season opened at midnight last night, with Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, beginning talks with Phil Gartside, the Bolton chairman, over the weekend.

Discussions continued yesterday, with all parties confident that a deal will be finalised by the end of next week. Anelka has been kept informed of developments and is understood to be in little doubt that his appearance against Derby County tomorrow will be his last for Bolton.

Chelsea would be the fifth Premier League club that Anelka has played for, having previously played for Arsenal, Liverpool (on loan) and Manchester City before Bolton. It is thought that he will be acquired by the Blues for around £10 million, funds which will be extremely useful for the Lancashire club in their bid to remain in the Premier League this season.

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