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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 2, 2007

Chelsea quash Lampard fears, Alex permit

Chelsea have scotched speculation that England midfielder Frank Lampard is set to miss the start of the season with a broken toe.

Lampard has featured in all Chelsea's pre-season matches despite suffering a minor injury during their stay at an American training camp.

The England midfielder has not missed a single training session since collecting the knock and is set to play a major part in Sunday's FA Community Shield showdown with Manchester United.

A Chelsea statement read: 'Contrary to speculation, Frank Lampard has only suffered a minor injury - sustained over three weeks ago whilst training in Los Angeles.

'The injury has not required any pain-killing injections nor affected Frank's ability to play or to take part in any one of Chelsea's training sessions.'

Chelsea issued the statement to counter suggestions that the England midfielder, yet to sign a new contract with the club, would miss the start of the Premier League season.

Lampard is expected to play a pivotal role in Chelsea's midfield against United on Sunday and the confirmation that his injury is of a minor nature came just hours after the club revealed that Brazilian defender Alex has been granted a work permit.

The defender had hoped to discuss personal terms last Sunday but he opted to fly home even though he was eventually cleared to enter the country.

He will now return to Britain to discuss a contract and undergo a medical.

A Chelsea spokesperson said: 'At a hearing today, Alex was granted a work permit. He still has to agree personal terms with Chelsea Football Club and have a medical.'

The signing of Alex will take Chelsea's summer arrivals to five following Steve Sidwell, Florent Malouda, Claudio Pizarro and Tal Ben Haim.

But although three of those players cost the club nothing in terms of transfer fees, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon insists they were not targeted for that reason.

Kenyon said: ``It's been quiet but we've still bought in new players. I think what there hasn't been is the noise of how much we've spent but I think we've been very targeted and very shrewd in what we've done.

'We wanted to strengthen the squad and we went for specific players, the fact that three of those players were free was not the reason we went for them, we went for them because we genuinely believed they could add to the squad and add to the team.

'It's really easy to say we can replace this guy with this guy, what you're looking for all the time is improving it and that's the difficult thing, and I have to say we've got a fantastic squad here.

'We've been big news because we've spent a lot, we've been big news now because we haven't spent any.

'The money has been available and both Jose and I have said it on several occasions, for the right player, the money is there.

'So it's not about being broke or restrained - it's actually looking at what we needed as a team to progress from where we were last season and last season was not a bad season.

'But I also think it's crucial to Chelsea to bring youngsters through and I think you can never trade ability and you can never afford to be too sympathetic.

'John Terry is captain of Chelsea because he's the best person to be captain of Chelsea and that's fact, but it would be very nice to think that we've got the next captain of Chelsea coming through the ranks now because it does add another value.'

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