Posted on: Mon 09 Oct 2006

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, in Monaco for the Champions League draw, has given his initial thoughts on being lined-up to play Barcelona, Werder Bremen and Levski Sofia.


The two games in October against the reigning European champions were naturally the first he was asked to comment upon.


"Walking in here, it was almost expected," Kenyon said on a third successive season of being drawn against Barça. The results stand at one win each in the current sequence.


"We have got it all to play for," he joked. "They knocked us out last time and went on to win it and we have great respect for them as a club and as a team. We have always had a good friendship with them.


"I hope people concentrate on the football, which is the important thing, and I think this is what the Champions League is all about. Our fans want to sees us against the big teams and it doesn't come much bigger than Barcelona.


"We play back-to-back on matchdays three and four and [Barcelona president] Joan Laporta has told me they are playing Real Madrid in the middle so they have got a big ten days.


"It's a big draw but we shouldn't overlook some of the other teams in there," he added. "Werder Bremen have had a good start and are a strong team. It is a good group.


"Winning games at this stage of the competition is important not only to qualify but to improve our coefficient and make sure that next year we are in the first pot of seeds. That will improve our opportunities of not drawing Barcelona.


"Everyone at Chelsea will be looking forward to the Champions League starting again, it is the best club competition."


Kenyon was also asked if Ashley Cole would be in the Chelsea squad by the start of the European campaign.


"That would be nice," he replied. "We have seven days to do it. We have been talking to Arsenal very frequently over the last three weeks and there is no more to add. They know what our position is and we would like to think we can get it done but if not, we have a great team and are very confident that team can take us through."


A follow-up question raised the subject of Arsenal target William Gallas being involved in the deal.


"You would think that would make it easier but I'm not sure it has," was the chief executive's response. "That may happen, it may not. William may stay with us, we may get Cole. So it is all up in the air and in the next seven days we will find out