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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Scolari faces grilling over Lampard future

Chelsea's new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is set to face a grilling over the future of top stars Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba after a day of speculation about the pair.

Scolari met his players for the first time at the club's Cobham training ground on Monday amid rumours that Inter Milan had officially offered Chelsea £6.5million for England midfielder Lampard and that AC Milan were chasing Drogba.

Scolari will face the English media for the first time tomorrow and he is almost certain to be quizzed over the progress of talks over the futures of both players as well as a number of their own transfer targets.

Chelsea insist they have yet to receive any bid from Inter Milan for Lampard.

Lampard, 30, has just one year left on his current deal and he could force his way out of Chelsea and join Inter immediately by using FIFA's Article 17 to buy out the last year of his contract.

Alternatively, he could wait until January and sign a pre-contract with Inter that would let him leave for free at the end of the season.

Lampard has been pressing for a new contract at Stamford Bridge for months but so far there has been no agreement. However, talks are expected to resume this week.

In the meantime, AC Milan are still tracking Drogba, says technical director Leonardo.

Milan are in the hunt for a striker after selling Alberto Gilardino to Fiorentina and with Ronaldo out of action because a serious knee injury.

'It's no secret we're interested in signing a forward and are studying candidates,' said Leonardo.

'Drogba is a fine player. We are waiting for the right time to move.'

Ivory Coast forward Drogba has already been linked with Milan's city neighbours Inter as well as Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, Chelsea are yet to receive a single offer for the striker.

Leonardo also insisted there was 'no possibility' of Chelsea signing Brazilian star Kaka even though Milan claimed they had received an 'astronomical offer' from the English club - a claim denied by the Blues.

Leonardo stated: 'I can only repeat what we keep saying - there is no possibility of Kaka moving away from Milan.

'We have not received an official bid for him. He is very close to AC Milan and has a very, very good relationship with the club.'

Meanwhile, Zenit St Petersburg manager Dick Advocaat expects Andrei Arshavin's future to become more clear before the end of the week.

Barcelona have made an official approach to Zenit, and Chelsea and Arsenal have also been linked with the 27-year-old.

Former Holland boss Advocaat admits he has no idea where his star player will end up but he expects to see a development in the coming days.

'Andrei hopes to play elsewhere in Europe and something will happen this week,' Advocaat said.

'He is a good player and would do well in any league in Europe but my advice to him is that it's up to him where he goes.

'He has to do what he wants, he is the man who will be playing.

'It is disappointing that he is leaving but that's the way it goes.'

Zenit had earlier stated they were not holding talks with any club regarding the transfer of Arshavin.

The club also announced Spanish giants Barcelona were the only club to have made an official approach for the player.

In a statement, they said: 'FC Zenit informs everyone that, as of this moment, there are no negotiations about Andrei Arshavin's transfer to any club.

'The only request about the possibility of the forward's transfer was the offer from Barcelona.

'Information in the media about Zenit's negotiations with Chelsea is not corresponding to the truth.'

Arshavin was in St Petersburg at the weekend but did not figure in his side's 5-1 thrashing of Tom Tomsk on Sunday.

Arshavin told Sport Express: 'Dick Advocaat says my mind is occupied with other thoughts and therefore until the matter of my contract is resolved it is better to take a break from playing, and I agree with him on that.'

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