Chelsea hope to hand Pirlo debut in Community Shield

Chelsea hope to have AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo available for Sunday's Community Shield clash with Manchester United.

The Daily Mail says Pirlo looks set for west London, with new manager Carlo Ancelotti intending to field him as a deep-lying playmaker at the bottom of his midfield diamond with a brief to dictate the rhythm of the team.

AC Milan are wary of the potential reaction from their supporters after seeing the popular trio of Ancelotti, Paolo Maldini and Kaka all leave the San Siro this summer.

Vice-president Adriano Galliani and new manager Leonardo have consistently claimed Pirlo is not for sale, but they are aware he is anxious to follow his mentor to Stamford Bridge and Milan are privately committed to rejuvenating their ageing squad to compete with Inter Milan.

Milan rejected Chelsea's initial approach for Pirlo but an improved bid of £12million plus striker Claudio Pizarro could persuade them to do business, possibly in time for the Italian midfielder to make his debut against Manchester United in the Community Shield.

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