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Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Saturday, 26 July 2008 12:24 UK

Inter continue chase for Lampard

Frank Lampard
Lampard's current contract at Chelsea expires in the summer of 2009

Inter Milan have not given up hope of signing Chelsea's England midfielder Frank Lampard this summer.

The Serie A side's manager Jose Mourinho said this week he was unlikely to capture Lampard, 30, until the end of the player's contract in 2009.

But Inter's chief executive Ernesto Paolillo said: "We will see how things evolve in the coming days but that is not to say the negotiations are over.

"Anyway, we have made sure we have a competitive team even without Lampard."

Inter have already snapped up Brazilian winger Amantino Mancini from Roma and are close to completing a 12.7m deal for Portsmouth midfielder Sully Muntari.

Former Blues manager Mourinho remains keen to bring Lampard to the San Siro but is willing to wait to get his man.

We have always maintained that we want Frank to stay and an offer was made to that effect

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon on Frank Lampard

"For Lampard, it will be easier to play with Chelsea until the end of his contract rather than break it now, all of a sudden," Mourinho said on Monday.

"It seems to me difficult for him to be able to come here now, it's easier that he comes next season."

Lampard, who is currently in China on a pre-season tour with Chelsea, will be able to leave Stamford Bridge on a free transfer at the end of next season.

A Chelsea spokesman last week told BBC Sport that the club expects Lampard to see out the remaining year of his contract.

"Our position is exactly the same as when Peter Kenyon and Bruce Buck spoke about it last week," he said.

Blues chief executive Kenyon and club chairman Buck said they still hope Lampard will sign a new deal with the club but expect him to see out the remaining year of his current contract no matter what.

"We'd like to hope we can reach an agreement but if we can't we have always worked on the basis that he sees out the terms of his contract," stated Kenyon.

"The situation is ongoing. We have always maintained that we want Frank to stay and an offer was made to that effect.

"Even for the course of that year there is still the opportunity for him to complete a new contract because the offer we have made him remains on the table."

606: DEBATE
MagicMakelele
Lampard wants a longer deal than the four years offered by Chelsea and the club face the prospect of him leaving for nothing next summer if the matter is not resolved.

The situation has been somewhat confused, with new Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insisting Lampard was happy to stay "for more than one year", while the player's agent Steve Kutner described his client's future as "completely unresolved".

"The Lampard team are not happy. Lampard wants to stay but he would like a five-year deal and Chelsea are only offering four on, from what I gather, about 150,000-a-week," said BBC football correspondent Jonathan Legard.

Lampard also has an option under Fifa rules to buy out the remaining 12 months of his contract.


see also
Muntari to complete Inter switch
25 Jul 08 |  Portsmouth
Makelele leaves Chelsea for PSG
21 Jul 08 |  Europe
Chelsea talks over Robinho stall
21 Jul 08 |  Chelsea
Ballack cool on new Chelsea deal
07 Jul 08 |  Chelsea


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