'Happy' Anelka hints at Chelsea stay
Chelsea frontman Nicolas Anelka has given the broadest hint yet that he is ready to pledge his future to the Stamford Bridge club.
Chelsea are understood to have re-opened talks with the France striker over a contract extension that would see him remain in London until 2013.
Discussions with Anelka's representatives had originally stalled, allegedly over his desire for a £40,000-a-week pay increase, but the player is on the brink signing a new deal.
His original demands would have taken his weekly earnings to £120,000 and with Chelsea looking to reduce their wage bill, it was feared Anelka would quit the club.
The striker's current deal expires in 2012 but there are signs the two parties are close to an agreement, with Anelka insisting that he has no reason to move on.
The Chelsea ace has been labelled something of a nomad after playing for a string of clubs during his career, including Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbahce and Bolton.
But Anelka, 31, is adamant that his roots are firmly planted in west London and that is the biggest indication so far that he will sign a new deal with the club even though they were dumped out of the Champions League by Inter Milan in midweek.
"I feel at home here at Chelsea," said Anelka.
"I'm happy in my life and I will be more happy at the end of the season if we win the Premier League.
"I said when I first signed that I wanted a big club and I've found a big club, so now I don't need to move anywhere else.
"I am very glad to be here. I've been at big clubs before with Arsenal, Real Madrid and Liverpool, but between the ages of 25 and 30 you want to be able to find a real home for yourself.
"It came at 28 for me, when I signed here, so I am glad - it has been a long career, playing for a lot of clubs, but I like the fact that I'm playing now in one of the biggest clubs in the world, I don't need to move anywhere."
Meanwhile rookie goalkeeper Ross Turnbull is hoping to remain in goal against Blackburn on Sunday even though first-choice Petr Cech will undergo a late fitness test on his calf problem.
Turnbull played in Chelsea's 4-1 victory over West Ham last weekend and the 1-0 defeat to Inter in the Champions League, and he now wants to hold on to the shirt.
"I want to play but at the same time I don't wish ill health on Petr," said Turnbull.
"Football is funny, it's not an 11-man game anymore, it's a big-squad game and people are starting to understand that. "You will get injuries and you need a big squad. If the games continue to come, great, but if not I will support Petr as much as I can. The most important thing is for the team to have success.
"My chance to make a contribution is now and it would be nice to look back at the end of the season having done my part.
"As I said every game now is a big one and we have to step up and do our stuff. I think I have improved massively, coming here has been a big step. There have been some hard times, I've been training extremely hard doing double sessions and it's been pleasing to show that's paid off."
Cech has been out with a calf injury since Chelsea's first-leg Champions League defeat at Inter on February 24, but has now returned to training. Coach Carlo Ancelotti will put Cech through a strict fitness test before deciding whether to select him for the game at Ewood Park.
"Cech is doubtful for Sunday," said Ancelotti. "We will take a decision for the game against Blackburn after training."