Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says the club are remaining “calm” about new contracts for Ashley Cole, John Terry and Frank Lampard as he indicated that the trio may be given fresh one-year deals.
Cole, Terry and Lampard are all long-standing members of the Blues squad, having been at the club during Mourinho’s first stint at Stamford Bridge, between 2004 and 2007.
All three of the players’ contracts are due to expire at the end of the season, however, Mourinho believes there is no reason to start panicking just yet.
“What has to come will come naturally,” Mourinho said of contracts for the trio. “We don't need to be involved in discussions publicly. Everything comes naturally.
“The players want to stay if they are playing and feel useful, if they feel important in the team. The respect the club has for them is more than obvious. No pressure.
“We will do in the end the best thing for the club and the best thing for the players. The best thing is a result of communication, of changing ideas and feelings, but it will come naturally.
“It's different to last season, when John and Frank weren't playing. You could guess lots of things. At this moment it's all very calm. They trust us, we trust them. It's not about making a contract desperately tomorrow or next week. Very calm. No stories.”
Mourinho also implied he is unlikely to make any more signings after completing a transfer to bring back Nemanja Matic from Benfica for 20.75 million pounds earlier this week.
The Portuguese said the deal represented a perfect opportunity that the club could not pass up. He did, though, concede there may be some outgoings, with Ryan Bertrand having already moved to Aston Villa on loan until the end of the season, while Kevin de Bruyne will almost certainly leave for Wolfsburg.
“I think it's more about people leaving than people coming in,” he said. “I'm happy with the squad. We are building a team and a squad not just for now but for the future.
“We didn't want to lose this chance [to sign Matic], so we did it now. But we're happy with the squad now.
“But Kevin de Bruyne is more than probably leaving. It's not closed, but it's close.
“We also decided that Ryan Bertrand will go on loan. He's a good player, our player, and he needs to play. I have options at left-back with Ashley Cole and [Cesar] Azpilicueta. So we felt, and he agreed, that he needs to play. He's a good player. He's English and young, so he's going to Aston Villa until the end of the season.”
Mourinho also stated that he believes Matic is already the finished article and can have a big impact at the club.
“I'm sure he will. I'm happy he came now because it gives him these five or six months, so the beginning of next season is not the beginning for him,” he said. “He will be in the team in this evolution. In this moment of building up a team we want the team to be for many years.
“I'm happy that he came in this window. Not because we desperately need him -- we don't, because our squad is a good squad and we have good balance -- but in terms of how we analyse our squad for the future, his profile is the perfect one.”
However, Mourinho said Matic will not start Sunday’s game at home to Manchester United, out of “respect” for his existing players. Lampard is set to come back into the team, but Branislav Ivanovic is likely to miss out.
“Lampard is training at home all week with the team, so normally yes. Ivanovic, not one single training session with us. Today he will, but I don't think he can play. Lampard I think he can," he said.
“Matic is not starting the game. I feel that... I owe that respect to my players. He's my player now, but I owe this to my other players. They are doing well and playing well. It wouldn't send the right message to them if a new player came and immediately played in the team. So I won't use Matic from the beginning.”