Chelsea are set to deal Gianfranco Zola and West Ham a hammer blow by pipping them to the signature of freebie Luca Toni, the Daily Mail understands. The Italian striker has been in a high-profile conflict with Bayern manager Louis Van Gaal after struggling to win a starting place this season and is reportedly being allowed to leave for next to nothing.
West Ham had been previously linked with a move for the prolific Italian striker yet were visibly deterred by his wage demands. There is no doubt that Toni would bring valuable experience to Upton Park and if rumours are to be believed then Zola had been planning to make a move for the Italian striker, however Chelsea have made a late entry to join the chase.
Zola has seen Toni as a possible solution to the problems caused by Carlton Cole’s absence, with the East London club struggling for goals without the English target-man. Carlo Ancelotti and Chelsea are believed to see Toni as a short term replacement for Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, who travel to Africa for the African Cup of Nations next year and Chelsea are one of the few clubs that could easily afford Toni’s wage demands. He would no doubt provide adequate cover for the Ivorians whilst they are away on international duty, however it is unlikely that Toni will like to continue playing second fiddle and will want to travel to a club who can ensure him first team football.
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