Meireles set for £8m transfer to Fenerbahce

CHELSEA midfielder Raul Meireles yesterday completed an £8m transfer to Turkish club Fenerbahce.

The 29-year-old Portugal international was signed during Andre Villas-Boas’s brief reign but following his succession by Roberto Di Matteo and the consequent midfield arrivals of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Marko Marin, Meireles was no longer needed in London and has finally completed what appeared an overdue move.

Though below Frank Lampard, Ramires, Jon Obi Mikel and possibly Oriol Romeu in Di Matteo’s plans, Meireles’s exit regardless represents somewhat of a risk given Chelsea’s dwindling options in the midfield area. Michael Essien on Friday joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan and Josh McEachran and Kevin De Bruyne had already respectively joined Middlesbrough and Werder Bremen in similar deals.

The left-back Ashley Cole is one whose future is more certain but after suffering a minor ankle injury, he will miss England’s World Cup qualifier against Moldova on Friday. Cole could yet return for Tuesday’s fixture against Ukraine so his fitness will again be tested on Sunday but, with 98, he will regardless have to at least wait until the San Marino fixtured in October to win his 100th.