Lampard contract talks – a never ending story

Frankie LampardThe England midfielder’s current Stamford Bridge deal expires at the end of the season and this has led to a flurry of speculation regarding the 34-year-old’s future.

That intensified on Tuesday when Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay was quoted as saying talks has begun with Lampard – a move that would be welcomed by Chelsea fans frustrated the club’s Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich has yet to offer the Blues hero a new contract.

A report had it that Chelsea is in “ongoing” talks with Frank Lampard over extending his contract according to the club’s chief executive Ron Gourlay, the club would late refute the report (as seen below)

The 34-year-old midfielder was told he wouldn’t be offered a new deal by the club last year, with his current deal due to run out at the end of this season. However, the Blues have reportedly approached the England international directly without going through his agent.

“Discussions with Frank Lampard are ongoing. But they must be kept confidential at this stage,” Ron Gourlay revealed to reporters.

Lampard is believed to be desperate to extend his 12-year stay at Stamford Bridge with his sights also set on representing England at World Cup 2014 in Brazil, while he only needs four more goals to eclipse Bobby Tambling’s all-time club record of 202 goals.

Gourlay also commented on the uncertainty around interim manager Rafa Benitez after a turbulent week for the Spaniard, explaining that the club will review his position once the season is over.

“It was the club’s plan to have Rafa Benitez as the interim manager with the aim of securing a Champions League position at the end of the Premier League season,” he said.

“We’ll assess situation then. We can still win the Europa League and the FA Cup, but make no mistake, our priority lies with a Champions League spot.”

However, the latest story has it that  Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has refused to be drawn into a discussion about whether midfielder Frank Lampard will stay at the European champions after his contract expires in June, the club said on Tuesday. After earlier media reports quoted Gourlay as saying talks were “ongoing” (as seen above) over a new deal between England’s Lampard, 34, and the club he joined in 2001.

Then, Chelsea quickly refuted the reports, adding that any talks with their players “remain confidential”.

Chelsea moved to clarify comments made by Gourlay – who did speak to the media in Bangkok as part of an ongoing trip to promote the club’s pre-season trip to Asia – on their website Tuesday afternoon.

“I am not prepared to discuss this (Lampard’s future) at this time,” Gourlay said.

“Obviously conversations must remain confidential between the club and the players at all times so that is as much as I can say.”

Lampard’s exit from Chelsea, after 12 years of service, continues to draw nearer despite calls from the club’s fans for him to stay.

The England international’s agent Steve Kutner claimed in January that the club had told him, and Lampard, that he would “not be offered a contract under any circumstances”.

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