Vialli decides to join Chelsea

ITALIAN striker Gianluca Vialli, who captained Juventus to European Cup glory this week, confirmed yesterday that he is joining…

ITALIAN striker Gianluca Vialli, who captained Juventus to European Cup glory this week, confirmed yesterday that he is joining Chelsea.

New Stamford Bridge manager Ruud Gullit has signed the 31 year old striker on a three year contact.

Vialli, who is 32 in July, has formally left Juventus, a news conference in Turin heard. A veteran of 12 Italian first division seasons, he leaves the club after four years and two days following the triumph in the Champions Cup final against Ajax of Amsterdam at Rome's Olympic stadium.

The Italian international told a press conference in Turin that he signed a three year contract with Chelsea Gullit knows all about Vialli's qualities, having been a rival of his when he played with AC Milan.


Vialli said his contract would come into force on June 30th but he gave and financial details.

The Italian daily Corriere dello Sport newspaper reported earlier that the deal would involve the former Italian international being paid £1 million a year.

The paper said the deal was less than Rangers had offered but Vialli was swayed by the fact that Gull it was in charge at Chelsea and that he was keen to play in the Premiership.

Sources at Juventus said he had been offered a one year contract while the player had sought a two year deal.

Vialli signed for Chelsea after managing director Colin Hutchinson broke off a holiday in Cyprus to seal the deal.

Hutchinson said "Vialli could have earned more money elsewhere but the lure of Ruud and London enabled us to pull off this coup.

"Ruud is currently on holiday but we have faxed him with the good news.

Chelsea player and Scottish striker John Spencer yesterday said "Let's hope Gianluca Vialli does for us what Jurgen Klinsmann did for Tottenham."

News of Chelsea's swoop for the man who this week lifted the European Cup reached Spencer at Scotland's hotel in Hartford, Connecticut.

"This is a tremendous signing for the club and I am looking forward to playing with him next season," said the striker.

"I've already learned so much from Glenn Hoddle and Ruud Gullit. Now we've got Vialli you can only listen and learn from class player like them, and hopefully Vialli will pats on his knowledge and experience.

"This signing shows Ruud can attract top players. He's a world wide name himself and has now brought another to the club." Spencer's Scotland and Chelsea team mate Craig Burley added. "What a move by the club, and I don't think he'll be the last big name on his way to Stamford Bridged I think there will be two or three more to come.

"Rangers will be very disappointed not to have signed him, but it's so exciting for us."

Chelsea defender Nigel Spackman said "He is one of the top strikers in the world and would fit into any team.

"I am sure that because Ruud is in charge that had the biggest bearing on his decision to come here

"He probably also realises the Premiership is the place to be and to play football at present.

"A proven striker like Vialli should bring the best out of the team, especially the young players.

Germany's Jurgen Klinsmann, a massive hit during his season at Chelsea's London rivals Spurs, predicted that the Italian would make a huge impact at Stamford Bridge.

"Gianluca will fit perfectly into the game in England," said the Bayern Munich striker and German skipper. "He's not the sort of player who just concentrates when he gets the ball in a match.

"He is somebody who moves and runs for the entire 90 minutes, working like crazy and I know he won't have a problem here in England because that's the type of player the fans like to see."

He believes that the Italian could make as big a splash as he himself did at White Hart Lane last year's Footballer of the Year added "It's certainly possible.

"It obviously depends on the other players he has with him at Chelsea. He is a character and he can handle himself anywhere in the world.

"It wasn't a surprise for me that he went to Chelsea because he has a very good relationship wish Rudd Gullit. This is a chance for him to experience English football and he can easily handle three years in England."