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TIMES

Chelsea at odds with Frank Lampard over length of new deal

Frank Lampard’s contract talks with Chelsea have stalled over the length of the proposed deal, The Times has learnt. Chelsea’s most recent offer is for a two-year extension to his present deal that would keep him at the club until 2011, but the England player is seeking an additional four years.

Lampard is keen to stay at the club he has served with distinction for seven years and will meet Peter Kenyon, the chief executive, for contract talks after returning from holiday next week. The midfield player, who is a transfer target for Inter Milan, will also hold talks with Luiz Felipe Scolari, the new manager, when the Brazilian reports for duty at the club on July 7.

Lampard’s contract talks have been in progress for more than two years, with little sign of a breakthrough, although the club are willing to meet his wage demands by offering him parity with John Terry on £135,000 a week. However, Chelsea are reluctant to offer a lengthy deal to a player who will be 30 tomorrow.

Arsenal have unflinchingly operated a long-term policy of offering only one-year contracts to outfield players who are 30 or older, with Chelsea appearing to follow their lead. The West London club believe that they got their fingers burnt by giving Andriy Shevchenko a five-year deal when he signed from AC Milan two years ago, with the Ukraine striker a depreciating asset with no resale value, and do not want to make the same mistake.

Chelsea have pointed out to Lampard’s representatives that Michael Ballack was given a three-year contract, with an option for a further year, when he signed from Bayern Munich two years ago at the age of 29, although this logic appears to be undermined because they are preparing to give the Germany captain an extension.

Lampard is adamant that he will be capable of playing at the highest level well into his thirties because he is one of the fittest players in the Barclays Premier League. The former West Ham United midfield player has remarkable stamina and, despite having a thigh problem last season, has rarely suffered serious injuries, setting a Premier League record of 164 successive appearances between 2001 and 2005.

Lampard’s resolution to stay at Stamford Bridge was strengthened by the support the club offered after the death of his mother towards the end of last season, although Chelsea would be unwise to take such loyalty for granted. José Mourinho has made it clear that he wants to take Lampard with him to Inter, with Massimo Moratti, the Italian club’s president, revealing this week that he is their main transfer target.

Inter will await the outcome of Lampard’s contract talks before making an official bid, but the pull of being reunited with Mourinho is strong. Retaining Lampard may be Chelsea’s priority, but there is other business to tend to. They plan to offer a contract extension to Petr Cech, who has two years remaining on his existing deal, while Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Essien are also seeking improved terms.

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I swear both Frank and Kenyon are on holiday :lol:

Frank was in the paper only yesterday, showing clearly he is on holiday. The press will make the most out of this while they still can. They have got to have something to sell their bog roll havn't they?

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I thought they'd be too busy with Ronaldo's future to pester DD and Lamps again, but their bullshit must extend to the furthest reaches of the world, it seems.

They have run the Ronaldo thing as much as they can now, he has said enough times now that nothing will happen until after the Euros, so they have no-where to go with it for the time being.

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