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Football: CHELSEA I'M GLAD THAT I TURNED DOWN SAYS FREDI BOBIC.

Byline: MARTIN ROGERS

FREDI BOBIC is ready to start his English career with Bolton today - three seasons after snubbing this afternoon's opponents Chelsea.

The German international has finally fulfilled his dream of a switch to the Premiership at the grand old age of 30 with survival fighters Wanderers, beginning with a debut against the London side who wanted him at his very peak.

Bobic revealed he could have been part of the Stamford Bridge set instead of Sam Allardyce's biggest-ever capture when he completed his switch from Borussia Dortmund. Bobic said: "There was contact from Chelsea three years ago, but I decided to stay in Germany and play for Borussia when I left Stuttgart.

"I'm very happy to come to the Premiership now. I had 10 seasons in the Bundesliga and now I've got a chance in another country.

"I've always liked England since Euro 96, which was a great time for us. Apart from winning the trophy the stadiums were full and the people were great. I keep in touch with the Premiership through Sky Sports and it's always interesting to watch the attacking style of play."

Bobic was wanted by Chelsea at the same time they were courting Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and both the new boy and the Bolton boss are quietly happy that the Dutchman is a doubt today.

Allardyce is beaming about the signing after going out of his way to fly over and sell Bolton to Bobic after some initial doubts.

Allardyce said: "We were talking on the phone and through faxes, so I decided to jump on a plane and meet him eye to eye to sort out all the issues. Once we got round the table we did the deal.

"It's an important signing for Bolton, probably the biggest I've made, and it sends out a message to the Premiership that we are determined to get better."

Bobic confirmed that Allardyce's personal touch had persuaded him and said: "Bolton have made a big effort in the last week to get me.

"I'm happy that I'm here. I've seen the new stadium and the perfect conditions. It's an exciting move for me."

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BOBIC: Switch
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 12, 2002
Words:362
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