FESTA SET FOR BLUES SWITCH - VENABLES
By Ciaran Baynes
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The 31-year-old defender was dropped by Bryan Robson and placed on the transfer list prior to Venables' arrival on Teesside, but has been a key figure in the club's defensive improvement and better form in the last six weeks.
"There is interest from Chelsea and he wants to go which disappoints me," Venables said.
"I would like him to stay. Festa has played really well since I have been at the club and I hope he changes his mind."
Chelsea, who signed another defender this week in the shape of Marseille's Pierre Issa on a six month loan, were first revealed to be interested in the colossal defender a fortnight ago.
The likely arrival of Festa only increases the likelihood that Frank Lebeouf will leave Stamford Bridge to join Monaco, with the French transfer window closing later on Wednesday, although uncertainty still clouds the proposed deal.
Boro are likely to want around £2.5 million for Italian centre half Festa, who moved to the Riverside from Internazionale four years ago.
Meanwhile, Jody Morris is likely to be out for one month, after being stretched off in Sunday`s FA Cup win over Gillingham.
It had been feared that the England Under-21 international would be out for up to 10 weeks, but a further scan has revealed that his ankle is not broken, but only sprained.