Lampard close to Chelsea deal - reports
Frank Lampard has agreed a new one-year contract with Chelsea according to reports in the Telegraph as the midfielder prepares to lead his side into Wednesday's Europa League final.
Lampard, 34, is in line to captain the Blues against Benfica in Amsterdam in the absence of John Terry, who looks set to miss out through injury. He also wrote himself into the club’s history books on Saturday by becoming Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer when his two goals in the 2-1 victory against Aston Villa took his tally to 203.
The midfielder has been keen to commit to a new deal for two years, although with ongoing uncertainty over the club’s manager and the team's playing style he has not been offered an extension to his current contract, which expires this summer.
A number of clubs have been linked to Lampard, who could move on a free transfer, including Manchester United, Fiorentina and LA Galaxy.
However, now that Jose Mourinho looks set to return to Stamford Bridge, a manager who Lampard excelled under previously, it is believed that the way has been smoothed for him to continue for one more season before considering offers from abroad.
In Chelsea’s pre-match press conference for the Europa League final on Tuesday, Lampard talked about the one other time he had been close to leaving the club.
“The closest was Inter Milan with Jose in 2008, the idea of challenging myself to do something different and going with him because he was such an influence on my career,” he said.
“In the end I wanted to stay for personal reasons, because of my mum and the attachment I have to Chelsea.
“That was the one time when I was close. It’s turned out to be the right decision. I am fortunate to be here.”
Lampard also welcomed the potential for Mourinho to return to Chelsea, claiming the Real Madrid is capable of forming a ‘formidable group mentality’ which could turn the club into challengers for the Premier League title once more.
“He was the first one I saw to have a particular way, he knew whether a player needed a leg up or a telling off,” Lampard added.
“First and foremost it is about man management and how you get on with players. If you are a top-level manager you have top players, but getting the best out of them is the trick and it is 70% of the job.
“He formed a spirit among the team that was formidable. We didn’t have a group mentality to win the league but he brought that in.”