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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan, 16, 2007

No obstacle to Grant's potential Chelsea move

Avram Grant would be given a clear path to join Chelsea should the Barclays Premiership champions decide to move for his services in a bid to get more from unsettled striker Andriy Shevchenko.

Grant, technical director at Fratton Park, is the Israeli at the centre of unconfirmed suggestions that Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich wanted to appoint him and ditch Steve Clarke.

Those allegations were firmly denied by coach Jose Mourinho last week who also claimed any move to axe right-hand man Clarke would bring about the end of his reign at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho has still not pledged to remain at the club longer than the end of the season and the stir caused by rumours that Grant could be heading to Chelsea, did not help to smooth over the already widening cracks between the coach and the board.

But now Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has opened the debate yet further by admitting he would not prevent Grant from moving to Chelsea.

Redknapp has enjoyed working with the former Israel national team coach since his arrival and he said: 'If Avram wants to go, it will be his decision. But I haven't got a problem with Avram.

'He's a nice person. He's been as good as gold. I enjoy having him here - talking to him and being with him. I don't think anyone here could be upset with him in any shape or form.

'He's got a lot of experience and talks a lot of common sense about the game.'

Mourinho, however, would not take too kindly to any move to bring the Israeli into his fold and wants Shevchenko to work harder to regain the form which prompted Chelsea to pay £30million for his services from AC Milan last summer.

Meanwhile, England midfielder Frank Lampard has paid tribute to Chelsea's young guns and set his sights on scoring 100 goals for the club.

Chelsea have had to fall back on 17-year-old Ben Sahar and Michael Woods, 16, to help them to survive a lengthy injury list.

Mourinho warned the fans last Saturday they may have to fight for success in four competitions with teenagers in their ranks but Lampard insists their appearances have demonstrated Chelsea are a club that can promote from within as well as buying big.

Lampard said: 'There's been nothing exceptional but they've all slotted in so well to training and been comfortable and enthusiastic when they've got on the pitch.

'It's been a great experience for them. It shows that Chelsea is a club which can bring on young boys. There's always been this image that youngsters don't get a chance at Chelsea but since I've been here they often have. It is good for the first-team players because they add a good spirit to the group.'

Lampard's 13th goal of the season in the 4-0 drubbing of Wigan on Saturday took the England man to 82 goals for the club - five behind former striker Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink.

But ultimately, Lampard wants to join Chelsea's ton-up club which consists of Bobby Tambling, Kerry Dixon, Roy Bentley, Peter Osgood, Jimmy Greaves, George Mills and George Hilsden.

Lampard, who has already overtaken Eidur Gudjohnsen and Gianfranco Zola, said: 'I'm really proud to have gone past Eidur and Franco. I am looking at the 100 club now.

'I didn't dream when I first came here that I could make 300 appearances and get close to 100 goals.

'Eidur and Jimmy were so prolific here and when I was at West Ham as well as here, Gianfranco was knocking them in. It gives me a really good feeling to be up with them.'

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