Cudicini signs new Blues deal
By Peter O`Rourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The highly-rated custodian had been linked with a return to his native Italy, but the player is more than happy to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Roma had been strongly linked with a possible move for Cudicini so Chelsea moved quickly to offer him a new deal to keep him in West London.
Blues managing director Trevor Birch has been locked in talks with the player and Cudicini admitted he was happy to sign the new deal.
"I want to thank the club, the chairman, and Mr Birch because I think signing this contract, they show me they trust me," Cudicini told Chelsea TV.
"It was an easy decision, since I came here three years ago it has been a good time for me. I like the club, I like the supporters, I like London."
Birch was delighted to have secured the services of Cudicini and thinks he should be in the Italian national team set-up.
"We think he's one of the best goalkeepers in the world," said Birch.
" He should be already," Birch said when asked if he should be in the Italy team. "We think he's the best, and hopefully he'll prove that to the Italian manager."
Cudicini joined The Blues from Castel Di Sangro in the summer of 1999 and has established himself as number one under Claudio Ranieri.
The former Lazio and Milan ace has beaten off competition from Ed de Goey and Mark Bosnich to become a regular in the Chelsea side and is regarded as one of the best keepers in The Premiership.
The 28-year-old was in sparkling form for Chelsea last season with a number of eye-catching performances.
The Italian shot-stopper kept 16 clean sheets including saving three penalties last term.
Meanwhile, Chelsea's move to sign Real Madrid duo Geremi and Flavio Conceicao is reported to have a stumbling block.
The Blues were thought to have agreed a deal to sign Cameroon defender Geremi while taking Brazilian midfielder Flavio Conceicao on a season long loan with a view to a permanent move.
It now seems that Chelsea cannot agree a fee for Geremi, but Real are still hopeful of reaching a deal.
A number of other clubs are interested in Conceicao including Besiktas and the Turkish giants are hoping to tempt him to sign for them instead of Chelsea.