Fulham manager Martin Jol willing to offer Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard a home at Craven Cottage
The veteran midfielder looks set to leave Stamford Bridge this summer
Wednesday 17 April 2013
Frank Lampard would be more than welcome next season at Craven Cottage, where he may make his 600th Chelsea appearance.
The veteran midfielder looks set to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, at the end of his 12th season, and Fulham's manager, Martin Jol, admitted that he would be delighted to have the 34-year-old in his team next year, but is not holding out much hope.
"He is the most productive midfield player in England in the last 30 or 40 years," Jol said. "Everyone would love to have him. He's fit and is a good character.
"He will have a smile on his face if he listens to Fulham, I would love to have him. But it's hypothetical as he will never play for Fulham. I'm not sure he will play for a top 10 team. He's a living legend over there. In the end I have a feeling they will keep him."
Now that Chelsea are out of the FA Cup they have two priorities left, winning the Europa League and qualifying for next season's Champions League. Victory tonight would move them three points clear of Tottenham Hotspur, their Premier League match against whom has been rearranged for Wednesday 8 May. This means that if Chelsea reach the Europa League final they will have had weekend and midweek games during the last seven weeks of the season.
The Chelsea manager, Rafael Benitez, insisted that he would continue with his rotation policy. "We've had a lot of games and still have nine or 10 to play, so all the squad and players are important. It has to be the same until the end. We have to manage the squad, and will do so until the end."
Lampard is just two goals away from equalling Bobby Tambling's record as Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer but Benitez said he would not be given any special treatment. "The main thing is the team. I would like to see Frank breaking the record. If I pick him it's because he's a good player. I'm sure he will score goals, I think he will do it."
Benitez argued that Juan Mata should be among the contenders for player of the season, after an excellent second year at Stamford Bridge. "He should be considered for sure," Benitez said. "To have played two games every week for months, he's been so good."
He compared Mata to club legend Gianfranco Zola. "Game intelligence is the key. Mata is very clever, he finds space and has quality, he has the vision. Zola was this type of player."
Odds Fulham 15-4 Draw 14-5 Chelsea 4-5
Referee M Dean (Wirral)
Latest in Sport
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Pogba to Chelsea: Blues set to smash British spending record with £70m midfielder and £34m John Stones
Usain Bolt taken out by clumsy photographer on Segway during victory lap after World Championships 200m win over Justin Gatlin
Club Brugge 0 Manchester United 4 player ratings: Wayne Rooney scores hat-trick, but who impressed in Champions League tie?
Javier Hernandez: Great night for Manchester United, terrible night for Chicharito
- 1 Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
- 3 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 4 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs