Chelsea assistant manager Steve Clarke has stepped into the Rio Ferdinand row by saying the English Premier League leaders do not need another central defender.
"We have four of the best centre-halves in the world in John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, William Gallas and Robert Huth. We don't need a central defender, but maybe there is another agenda there," Clarke told Wednesday's London Evening Standard.
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Ferdinand has been linked with a transfer from Manchester United to Chelsea after being seen, with his agent, meeting Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon in London.
Kenyon has said the meeting was a coincidence and Chelsea say they have no interest in signing the England international, who became the world's most expensive defender when he joined United from Leeds for 30 million pounds ($57.53 million) in 2002.
However, as a result of the meeting, Ferdinand's contract negotiations with United have now become public news. Local media suggest the England defender is demanding 120,000 pounds a week to stay and United manager Alex Ferguson has urged Ferdinand to sign the deal being offered.
Chelsea, who will be champions if they win their next two games, face second-placed Arsenal later on Wednesday when another controversial transfer issue will be to the fore -- that of Arsenal's Ashley Cole.
The England full back, along with Chelsea and their manager Jose Mourinho, face an FA inquiry over Chelsea's alleged 'tapping-up' of Cole, who is contracted at Arsenal until 2007.
Clarke, however, said the issue would not be a factor in Wednesday's match at Stamford Bridge.
"Enough has been said about that," he said. "We should just let it run its course and I don't feel that it puts any significant edge on this game."