Lampard in talks with Chinese club
Chinese club Guizhou Renhe have opened talks with Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, according to reports.
Renhe’s deputy board chairman Yang Xiayou was quoted in reports published today saying the club were in contact with Lampard but that no deal had been done. It followed reports in which the club’s chairman Dai Yongge had claimed Lampard would join them as captain in January.
Lampard’s agent declined to comment on speculation about the midfielder’s future when contacted by Press Association Sport, and Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo dismissed the link to Renhe when the subject was raised in a press conference following Chelsea’s Barclays Premier League match against Liverpool yesterday.
According to reports, Chelsea are not prepared to offer more than a one-year extension to Lampard, who could secure a lucrative payday to finish his career elsewhere.
Former Stamford Bridge team-mates Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka did just that when they joined Shanghai Shenhua this year on contracts said to earn them in excess of €310,000 a week.
Lampard has been linked with a move to China since March, while he has been touted for even longer as a big-name replacement for David Beckham in Major League Soccer.
Renhe, who are based in China’s south-western province of Guizhou, qualified for the AFC Champions League for the first time last season following a fourth-place finish in the Super League.
Lampard, who realised his ambition to win the Champions League in Europe last season when he captained Chelsea to their Munich triumph, has repeatedly expressed his desire to stay at Stamford Bridge.
But he has also admitted to concerns about the lack of contact from the club over a new deal in recent months.
He has not played for the Blues since aggravating a calf injury in their Champions League defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk almost three weeks ago and is a doubt for their potential make-or-break Group E showdown at Juventus next week.