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Crespo swells Chelsea ranks

Published: Wednesday 27 August 2003, 0.20CET
Chelsea FC have signed Internazionale FC's Argentinian forward Hernán Crespo for €24.25m.

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Published: Wednesday 27 August 2003, 0.20CET

Crespo swells Chelsea ranks

Chelsea FC have signed Internazionale FC's Argentinian forward Hernán Crespo for €24.25m.

Chelsea FC have signed Internazionale FC's Argentinian international forward Hernán Crespo for €24.25m.

World record
The 27-year-old had only been at the San Siro for one season following spells at Parma AC and S.S. Lazio, and scored nine goals in the UEFA Champions League as Inter reached the semi-finals. In the 2000/01 season he finished top scorer in Serie A with 24 goals for Lazio, who he joined from Parma for what was then a world record fee.

Negotiations complete
Inter's sporting director Marco Branca and technical director Gabriele Oriali completed the negotiations in London with the Premiership side, who presented Crespo to their fans at half-time in Tuesday night's 3-0 Champions League third qualifying round victory against MŠK Žilina - a result which confirmed their group stage place.

'A fantastic player'
Manager Claudio Ranieri said after the signing: "Crespo is a fantastic player and a great leader on the pitch." His club have now spent more than €130m since they were taken over by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, beating the record for money spent in a summer set by Juventus FC in 2001.

Chelsea target
Ranieri admitted of his club's new ambition: "The target is to be like Real Madrid [CF] and Manchester United [FC]. The reality is that it is important to build the team and lay the foundations."

New arrivals
Romanian international striker Adrian Mutu joined in a €22.4m move from Parma AC last week. Glen Johnson, Wayne Bridge, Damien Duff, Geremi, Joe Cole, Juan Sebastián Verón and Aleksei Smertin have also arrived at Stamford Bridge thanks to Abramovich's investment.

Debut plan
Crespo, who signed after passing a medical at Stamford Bridge, may make his debut in Saturday's Premiership match against Blackburn Rovers FC if he receives international clearance in time. Chelsea have won both of their opening league fixtures.

Last updated: 27/08/03 0.57CET

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