Blues edge closer to £17m Ramires deal

CHELSEA are set to unveil Brazilian star Ramires as their new £17m signing today.

The 23-year-old midfield ace will undergo a medical at Stamford Bridge this morning after the Premier League champions agreed a deal with Portuguese club Benfica.

Right-sided Ramires, who has 16 caps for Brazil, is expected to put pen-to-paper on a four-year deal and become Carlo Ancelotti’s second signing of the summer following the arrival of Yossi Benayoun from Liverpool.

If the deal does go through, Benfica will have to pay £6m to sports supremo Kia Joorabchian, who part-financed the player’s transfer from Cruzeiro.

That said, Joorabchian, who brought Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano to the Premier League, does not own any direct stake in Ramires, so it is not regarded as third-party ownership.

Benfica president Luis Felipe Vieira said: “Ramires staying at Benfica does not depend solely on us. We have a partner and we must respect the contracts.”

Ancelotti admitted he was hopeful the deal would be reached, but insists nothing is finalised yet.

“I will speak about Ramires when Ramires will be a Chelsea player,” Ancelotti said. “Until now, he is not a Chelsea player. We hope, but until now nothing is decided.”

Ancelotti made Ramires his No1 target following the departures of midfielders Michael Ballack and Joe Cole, while Deco is also expected to leave the club before the start of the season.