Premier League leaders Chelsea expect to sign unsettled Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid in the next 48 hours, chief executive Peter Kenyon said today.
The 24-year-old has been a target for the London club and new Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for much of the close season.
"We are ever confident that it (the transfer) will get done but I think we have always said it will go to the wire," Kenyon said. "We will keep moving it along and we would hope that he will be coming to join us at Chelsea."
Robinho, whose contract with Real runs to 2010 and includes a buy-out clause of €150 million, said last week that he was determined to join Chelsea and asked the Spanish club's directors to negotiate with them.
British newspapers have put a fee of up to €36 million euros on the deal.
Kenyon said Robinho and Brazilian-born Portuguese playmaker Deco, who joined from Barcelona in June, had always been top of the manager's shopping list.
"There were two players that he really identified. One was Deco and one was Robinho," said Kenyon. "I think we've already seen the impact that Deco has made on the Premier League and we've certainly seen the impact he has made with us.
"If we get Robinho, I think the squad is strong and capable of competing in all competitions without him but with him it's just that added dimension."
Real, who have tried in vain to secure Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, said last week that they wanted to keep Robinho but would not force anyone to stay against their will.