Ranieri: I make the decisions
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Claudio Ranieri has dismissed winter swoops for Sebastien Frey and Rivaldo and has reiterated that he is the man who decides on Chelsea's new recruits.
Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich's stunning takeover earlier in the year provided Ranieri with a blank chequebook to lure several of football's biggest names to Stamford Bridge.
But the odd Blues acquisition, most notably Juan Sebastian Veron from Manchester United, sparked speculation that Ranieri was not the driving force behind the signings.
Instead, it was mooted that England coach Sven Goran Eriksson was aiding Abramovich's quest to turn Chelsea into football's pre-eminent force by handpicking the fresh faces.
Wily Italian tactician Ranieri, though, has stood firm throughout the rumours concerning his future at the helm and is adamant he is responsible for the wealth of new players in West London.
Ranieri also remains optimistic that his plan to ensure his cosmopolitan clan gels will prove to be a fruitful exercise.
"I hoped for success because, contrary to what had been written in many places, it was me and not someone else who asked for these players from Mr Abramovich," Ranieri told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"In my mind, I had a definite plan. Putting it into practice is another thing.
"There are difficulties in inserting many new players which aren't easy to foresee and, without doubt, you need a little luck.
"But I am still hoping."
The Blues boss also acknowledged again that he has not requested any reinforcements during January's transfer window, ruling out moves for Parma goalkeeper Frey and Brazilian attacker Rivaldo, who is available on a free transfer after leaving Milan.
"Frey, Rivaldo," added Ranieri. "Every day it is good to make up a new name. There is nothing true.
"Never say never in the football market but, for January, I have not asked for anything.
"I'm just interested in continuing knowing, and making compact, the men I have at my disposal."