January 07, 2008

LONDON (AP) -- Bolton rejected an offer from Chelsea for striker Nicolas Anelka on Monday, hitting the Blues' attempt to compensate for the departure of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou to the African Cup of Nations.

The 28-year-old Anelka, who signed a new four-year contract at Bolton in August, has been linked with several clubs following his team's poor start to the season.

While Bolton rejected Chelsea's undisclosed offer, it may still sell the France international, who has scored 11 goals this season, to raise funds for new players as it seeks to avoid relegation.

Anelka, who has also played for Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City and Fenerbahce, cost Bolton 8 million pounds (US$15.8 million; ?10.7 million) in August 2006.

Chelsea will be without leading scorer Drogba and his Ivory Coast teammate Kalou for about a month while they play at the Jan. 20-Feb. 10 event.

With Andriy Shevchenko and Claudio Pizarro in unconvincing form, the Blues have been left short in attack as they challenge for the Premier League and Champions League.

Chelsea, which is third in the English standings, hosts Everton in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals on Tuesday.

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