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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Chelsea deny Ferdinand interest
Rio Ferdinand and Peter Kenyon on the front pageof the Daily Mirror
Ferdinand and Kenyon hit the headlines for a second time
Chelsea have again dismissed reports linking them with a move for Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

They have distanced themselves from speculation, amid allegations of a second meeting between the 26-year-old and Blues chief executive Peter Kenyon.

The pair were pictured together in a London restaurant.

"We have made it absolutely clear to United - on more than one occasion now - that we have no interest in Rio Ferdinand," said a Chelsea statement.

"Regardless of where this encounter took place, there is absolutely no significance in Peter Kenyon seeing Rio.

"As already stated, their meeting was purely by chance in a very public place."

Chelsea's director of communications Simon Greenberg also played down the latest allegations.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "Frankly I think this morning's story, or picture, is in many ways laughable.

"We are talking about the same encounter. There is a picture of them together but no-one has denied they were together.

"Given that both the places were extremely busy and there were a whole number of people in there with cameras and everything else it would be ludicrous to hold any sort of meeting in a place like that.

"It is a shame for Jose Mourinho and the players who have done fantastically well this season that a story that isn't a story has been continually played out.

"Jose is just concentrating on the match against Arsenal (on Wednesday). I spoke to him on Sunday and he was in a very good mood.

"The players have had two or three days off after beating Bayern Munich over two legs and they are all very relaxed."

Ferdinand has previously been pictured meeting Kenyon in a restaurant near Stamford Bridge.

And it has now emerged the pair, along with agent Pini Zahavi, moved on to a second restuarant on the same night only hours after United had lost to Norwich.

"I went to meet my agent and he (Kenyon) was there. It's the truth," Ferdinand said when pictures of their first meeting were published.

"We said a brief hello and did not discuss football. I have no intention of leaving United."

For a chief executive of a club to sit in a restaurant like that is amazing
Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson launched a scathing attack on Chelsea when told of that unauthorised meeting.

"It may be somebody else's view the meeting was unfortunate - but it's not my view.

"I don't know if it's contempt or whether he (Kenyon) is thumbing his nose at us or what. I just don't know."

With Chelsea already under investigation following an alleged attempt to poach Ashley Cole from Arsenal, Ferguson feels the Ferdinand incident was "at least, ill-advised".

Ferguson added: "For a chief executive of a Premier League club - with the recent history they (Chelsea) have had - to sit in a restaurant like that is amazing.

"I've not been over-encouraged by Peter Kenyon's words that he does not want to sign Rio.

"We're discussing it here and I think the Premier League are aware of it. My concern is for our supporters. I just want to let them know the club are not happy.

"I must say that I don't blame Rio. I believe what he's telling me. If he was enticed to that meeting, I do not know, but I believe he'll sign a contract and he'll stay here."

I respect what Chelsea are doing on the pitch but I expect them to behave and respect the rules off the pitch, like everyone else
Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also responded in a cynical manner when asked about the initial incident, declaring "it looks like a film we've seen already".

Wenger added: "I don't know if it really happened like it happened with Ashley Cole. First of all, a club should not be involved in any kind of incident.

"I respect what Chelsea are doing on the pitch but I expect them to behave and respect the rules off the pitch, like everyone else."

Ferdinand, in his third season at United since his 29.1m switch from Leeds, has two years left on his current deal.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Chelsea's director of communications Simon Greenberg




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14 Apr 05 |  Chelsea



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