Chelsea are on the verge of signing Bolton’s Tal Ben Haim on a free transfer.

Peter Kenyon, the club’s chief executive, was quoted in Israel yesterday as saying: “Ben Haim will arrive, we will discuss his contract and finalise the last details and we hope that he will sign the contract by tomorrow.”

Ben Haim was a target for Jose Mourinho during the January transfer window but Chelsea could not agree a fee with Bolton.

With Ben Haim out of contract at the Reebok Stadium the 25-year-old looks set to become the latest player to move to Stamford Bridge on a free transfer this summer, following Steve Sidwell and Claudio Pizarro. The Brazilian defender Alex is also expected to join from PSV for a token $1 fee.

News of the Ben Haim deal will come as a blow to Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce who had harboured hopes of bringing his former player to St James Park during the close-season.