Frank Lampard said yesterday that he will sign a new long-term contract at Chelsea after he was finally granted pay parity with Stamford Bridge's highest earners.
Frank Lampard said yesterday that he will sign a new long-term contract at Chelsea after he was finally granted pay parity with Stamford Bridge's highest earners. The England midfielder, just turned 26, is expected to agree a five-year deal worth a basic £80,000-a-week.
Talks have been protracted and it appeared at one stage as though Lampard and his agent, Steve Kutner, were willing to consider a move to Internazionale or simply sitting out the final two years of his present deal. But the new manager Jose Mourinho is a great admirer of Lampard - saying that he "loves" him as a player - and has insisted his demands are accepted.
Yesterday, as Chelsea presented three of their summer signings, Lampard was asked when he would agree his new deal. "Soon I hope," he said. "My agent [Steve Kutner] has been speaking to Peter [Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive]. It has been quite a drawn-out process. I definitely want to sign and the club want to sign me, I think. Hopefully, we will get it done by the start of the season."
Kenyon also confirmed that Lampard's friend, and Chelsea striker, Eidur Gudjohnsen has signed a new, improved deal. "Eidur will be extending his contract with us," Kenyon said. The Icelander has been offered a deal taking him to 2008 and worth £55,000-a-week - double his present salary. The offer comes 12 months after Gudjohnsen signed an earlier improved deal. Chelsea are also understood to be lining up new long-term contracts for John Terry and Wayne Bridge, who also agreed deals only last year.
All will board the plane today for Chelsea's pre-season tour to the United States - part of Kenyon's strategy to raise the club's profile - and will be joined by Didier Drogba, £24m from Marseille, who finalised his move yesterday, and hopefully Tiago Mendes, who was still negotiating terms last night.
The deals took the summer spending to £70m. Kenyon insisted that Chelsea had not paid too much for Drogba and also confirmed that there will probably be one more arrival. "There may be one other but Chelsea's future is not dependent on that. If there's anywhere where we are looking to strengthen, it's at centre-back." Having released Marcel Desailly, Chelsea only have the young German Robert Huth and the little-known Steve Watts as cover. They have been continually linked to Valencia's Roberto Ayala - although that deal has cooled - while Milan have offered the 22-year-old Argentinian Fabricio Coloccini.
Whether he arrives is another matter. Mourinho would not be drawn yesterday but was his usual, bullish self when asked to present Arjen Robben, Petr Cech and Mateja Kezman. Only the latter is his signing, but Mourinho said they all fitted "the profile" of players he wanted.
Kezman, signed from PSV Eindhoven, from where Robben, at £12m, also came, displayed a confidence to rival his new manager. The Serbian striker said he had no doubt he would succeed. "I took all the records in Holland," he said. Mourinho was equally effusive. "I don't understand why some people are surprised he is here with us," he said of a player who, at just £5m, is Chelsea's cheapest cash signing.Reuse content