Blues fail in fresh Ayala bid

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Reports in Spain claim that Valencia have rejected an improved bid from Chelsea for Argentine defender Roberto Ayala.

An offer of ‚é¼14 million (£9.6 million) was turned down by the Spanish club's board on Monday, although not unanimously.

Chelsea had seen an initial £8.8million raid rejected last month by the Spaniards, but have now renewed their interest in the 30-year-old.

It is believed that the Che are unwilling to do business unless their ‚é¼18 million (£12.4 million) price-tag is met, and remain in no rush to offload the stopper who penned a new deal at the club last summer.

Ayala is under contract at La Mestalla until June 2007, and has made it clear he is happy to remain where he is.

Chelsea, keen to reinforce their squad during the transfer window, have also been monitoring Bayer Leverkusen's Brazilian centre back Lucio, but have been rebuffed by the Germans as well.