Blues` Bridge bid accepted
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The left back submitted a transfer request to The Saints early on Friday, as news of Chelsea's interest in him gathered pace, and now Southampton have relented to The Blues' overtures.
The player's agent Jonathan Barnett has always stated that Bridge was keen to move to Stamford Bridge and now it seems Roman Abramovich's financial clout has won the day again.
Chelsea have already signed Glen Johnson and Geremi this week for a combined fee of more than £15 million, while also having a £17 million bid for Blackburn Rovers star Damien Duff accepted.
They are now ready to pay around £7 million for Bridge, who will hold talks with The Blues over the next 24 hours.
Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe confirmed Bridge was to have talks with the capital club.
"I regret to inform our supporters that we have today given Wayne Bridge permission to speak to Chelsea football club with a view to signing for them," he said.
"Wayne has quickly achieved great footballing success in his time with our club and has served us well.
"He has, however, made it known to both Gordon Strachan and me that he believes a move to Chelsea to be a career progression and an opportunity he cannot turn down.
"He is grateful for the tremendous support he has received from our club, from both staff and supporters, which has undoubtedly contributed to his success.
"He has, however, made it clear that he wants to play Champions League football, which he believes will give him a better chance of making him first choice for England.
"He will enjoy greater financial rewards at Chelsea and the club is geographically well placed for him to regularly visit his family.
"In the past we have rejected offers for Wayne Bridge from clubs to which he was not attracted.
"He has now handed us a transfer request thereby making it difficult for us to retain him despite the fact that he still has three years remaining on his contract.
"We subscribe to the view that sporting success is achieved by people who want to play together, share a common goal and are committed to the club and their team mates.
"We will update you further in due course."