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Wednesday, May 8, 2002
Dalla Bona to discuss new contract
By Dale Johnson

Chelsea midfielder Sam Dalla Bona is ready to open talks over a new contract with the west London club.

Sam Dalla Bona: New deal on the way?
Dalla Bona appeared to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge last summer when the two parties were at odds over a new deal. He was not even allocated a squad number at the start of the current campaign until he and manager Claudio Ranieri held clear-the-air talks.

Chelsea were ready to listen to offers of around £6m for the 21-year-old, and both Inter Milan and AC Milan were said to be interested. But Dalla Bona now looks set to commit his future to the Blues instead of returning to his native Italy.

Dalla Bona will now hold discussions with manager Claudio Ranieri and chairman Ken Bates in a bid to avoid a repeat of last summer's problems.

Reports have begun that the midfielder may be sacrificed to raise funds for summer transfers, with Chelsea already linked with a host of players, most recently Real Madrid's Geremi. However, Dalla Bona has indicated that he would like to stay on at the club if the right terms can be agreed.

'We have been talking about a contract so we will now see at the end of the season what happens,' he said. 'I have to make a decision and so do the club. I have to decide everything with the club and my family but I like it here.

'The manager likes me, the club, the supporters and the atmosphere are all good so I'd like to stay. But we will have to see. I could be here in one year's time and be playing for Chelsea or I could be somewhere else. The main thing is to be playing well for my team.'

Dalla Bona knows that he has undermined his chances of international honours with Italy by moving to England, having been overlooked for the Under-21 side just like Gianfranco Zola and Roberto di Matteo were from the senior team.

'I don't think it's right. At least they could give me one chance to show what I can do,' he pleaded.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are still said to be lining up a £7m bid for Real Madrid's Cameroon international Geremi.

Manager Claudio Ranieri tried to buy the 23-year-old full-back last year but was put off by Real's £8m price tag.

But the Spanish giants, looking to offload some of their players to help finance bigger deals in the close season, have now lowered their price.

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