There have been conflicting reports about whether Chelsea will offer Frank Lampard a new contract to keep him at the club beyond the end of the season. It had been widely believed that the 34-year-old was set to depart the Blues, with the player’s agent even revealing that he had been informed that there would be no negotiations over a new contract.
However, after Lampard continued his recent fine form by scoring for England against Brazil on Wednesday, the Daily Mail claimed that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had changed his mind and was set to offer a new deal.
Lampard has scored eight goals in his last 13 appearances for Chelsea to lead to increased pressure on the club’s hierarchy to keep him for at least another year.
It would represent a dramatic reversal by Chelsea, however and the player’s agent has revealed that there have still been no talks.
“Nothing has changed regarding Frank’s situation at Chelsea,” Steve Kutner said, according to the Sun.
Lampard has been linked with a free transfer to the likes of Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
There has also been talk of late about potential arrivals at Stamford Bridge this summer. The Daily Star claims that striker Christian Benteke has decided to leave the struggling Midlands club in the summer, with Chelsea one of the club’s interested in the 22-year-old.
Benteke has been a big success since joining from Genk last summer, scoring 10 goals in 22 Premier League appearances. The Star reports that Arsenal are heading the chase for the Belgium international, although Manchester City and Atletico Madrid are also interested.
Benteke would appear an unlikely signing for Chelsea at this stage. Demba has just arrived from Newcastle and it is widely believed that a serious move will be made for Radamel Falcao in the summer.
Another player whose arrival at Chelsea looks a distant proposition is Brazilian star Neymar. There has been plenty of speculation about the Santos forward this week, with the player in London for Brazil’s friendly with England.
The Daily Star reported that Chelsea had made several attempts to lure Neymar to Stamford Bridge through his international agent Pini Zahavi, who is thought to have close ties with Abramovich. The story also claimed that Chelsea’s Brazilian contingent—Oscar, Ramires and David Luiz—had been trying to persuade their international teammate to join them at club level.
There has also been a report in Spanish publication AS, claiming that a meeting was held between representatives of Neymar, Santos and Manchester City where the Premier League champions offered a blank check for the 21-year-old.
Santos have again stated that the player is not for sale until at least after the 2014 World Cup.
Barcelona still appear to be the favorites to land Neymar, while Bayern Munich has also emerged as a possibility after Pep Guardiola’s appointment as manager for next season.
Neymar has said that he remains open to all possibilities.
"All leagues are interesting in the end, including the Bundesliga," he told German news agency SID. "Bayern are a big club with extraordinary players. Playing for Bayern is something I could imagine doing. There is nothing that speaks against this.
"I dreamed to play in Europe since I was a child, but it is important I feel good and adapt with the rest of the team. [The transfer] doesn't have to be Spain necessarily."
It appears that Chelsea could have an even tougher task trying to persuade another reported target, Marek Hamsik, to leave Napoli.
The Slovakian, who has long been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City, has been in sparkling form this season, scoring nine goals and contributing 11 assists in 23 Serie A appearances.
But the 25-year-old’s agent doesn’t believe the player will ever be lured away from Napoli.
“I know Marek really well and he is very different from other footballers," Mino Raiola said, according to TalkSport.
"He's in love with the city of Naples, he is very tied to the club and the President.
"I don't think he will ever leave Naples and Napoli. I believe that he will end his career with the club without ever wearing the shirt of another club."