Chelsea have departed for their pre-season tour of Asia without injured striker Didier Drogba. The 30-year-old Ivory Coast forward has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge all summer and his absence will increase speculation that he could leave the club.
Internazionale target Frank Lampard has travelled with the squad, as have new signings Deco and Jose Bosingwa, while Michael Ballack will travel to China after finishing a post-Euro 2008 holiday.
The Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will take charge of his first match on Wednesday against Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals. "The players are not ready yet totally, but we are starting to build a new team and a new philosophy," the Brazilian said.
"This is just the beginning, and I expect after these five games that I will have a general idea about all the players and a system," Scolari added. After touring Asia, Chelsea travel to Moscow to compete in the Railways Cup.