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Chelsea insist Ballack going nowhere

Chelsea have dismissed claims that they are planning to off-load Michael Ballack in the January transfer window.

sports Updated: Sep 07, 2007 03:36 IST

Chelsea have dismissed claims that they are planning to off-load Michael Ballack in the January transfer window after leaving him out of their squad for the group stage of the Champions League.

The Germany captain was not among the 23-man list submitted to UEFA on Friday but Chelsea insisted that decision was taken purely because he would not be fit for most of the six group games, following ankle operations in April and July.

In a statement released on Thursday, Chelsea said: "There is no other reason for the decision and suggestions to the contrary are unfair on both Michael, who is attempting to get fit as soon as possible, and our medical team in whom we have every confidence."

Germany coach Joachim Low claimed on Wednesday that Ballack did not understand why he had been left out of the squad and said the midfielder was expecting to be back much sooner than the Chelsea medical staff were predicting.

Loew is hoping to have Ballack back in the national team by mid-October. If he is ready to play by then he would also be available for all but the first two of Chelsea's six group matches in the Champions League.

Reports in the British media have suggested that Ballack has been left out of the squad to ensure he can still join another Champions League club in January.

That would allow Chelsea to maximise the transfer value of a player who has not made as big an impact as had been expected when he joined the London club from Bayern Munich at the start of last season.