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By ESPN Staff
Apr 10, 2008

Chelsea chairman declares his love for Lampard

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck insists the club want Frank Lampard to stay at Stamford Bridge even though they have yet to make any move to resolve his future.

Lampard, who scored the decisive second goal in the 2-0 win over Fenerbahce in the quarter-final of the Champions League on Tuesday night, put talks over a new deal on hold last summer in favour of concentrating on his game this season.

But the midfielder recently expressed frustration that his personal situation had not been sorted out and called on Chelsea to end the uncertainty over his future.

Lampard will have just 12 months remaining on his current deal when the season ends and fans already fear he will quit the club.

But Buck, speaking at one of the club's 'Star on a Stool' evenings, declared: 'The current situation is that we haven't had any proper talks with Frank Lampard or his agent since the last part of the season when Frank said he wanted to concentrate on his football and then we would deal with his contract, and that is really the situation we are in.

'But let me be clear here, I love Frank Lampard, I think he is a fantastic player and I also think, which in the total scheme of things is really quite important, he is also a fine young man.

'I would really like to see him stay at Chelsea. The board and Roman Abramovich also believe that Frank Lampard is tops and we are optimistic, confident, pick your word, that we will find a way to keep Frank Lampard at Chelsea.'

The future of Chelsea coach Steve Clarke has also been under scrutiny in recent weeks and while Buck was full of praise for the Scot, he acknowledged that Avram Grant's assistant may well want to become a manager in his own right at some point.

Buck said: 'All I can say is we think Steve Clarke is great and we want him to stay at Chelsea. However, we have to be practical. At some point Steve Clarke will want to be first team manager at some club. At some point, the role he is in now will not be enough to fulfil him.'

Buck also revealed that the club were taking steps to eradicate the anti-Semitism problem that has surfaced with renewed vigour since Israeli Grant replaced Jose Mourinho last September.

Grant and his family have recently received death threats and, although they were later found to be non-toxic, the Chelsea boss was also sent white powder in the mail on a number of occasions.

But Buck added: 'Chelsea has had an anti-Semitism problem for many years, but it has been significantly reduced over the last 10 years.

'There has, since Avram became manager, been an increase in the anti-Semitism and that's something that is obviously totally unacceptable and we are dealing with it.'