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Mourinho the loser as Lampard signs

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Phil McNulty | 17:25 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008

London

Frank Lampard's contract wrangle has run a poor second behind Cristiano Ronaldo's flirtation with Real Madrid as the summer's longest - and on occasion most tedious - football saga.

It has ended, like the Ronaldo story, with the hero staying at home and the foreign football force's advances publicly spurned.

Chelsea's very obvious pleasure in announcing that Lampard has signed a new five-year deal sprung from several sources.

Luis Felipe Scolari, Frank Lampard

They have secured, for the rest of his top-class career and probably beyond, a player and personality who has become a home-grown symbol of their success amid the blizzard of foreign arrivals fuelled by the finance of Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea have also delivered a very public raspberry in the direction of their former coach Jose Mourinho, who did everything to suggest it was purely a matter of time before Lampard came running back to his one-time master and join him at Inter Milan.

Mourinho has discovered, as he occasionally did at Chelsea, that you cannot win them all and his job at the San Siro must go on without Lampard.

It has been rumoured that Chelsea's determination to keep Lampard away from Italy was strengthened by Abramovich's own desire not to let Mourinho put one over on him.

This may or may not be true, but one thing is certain - the news from Stamford Bridge will have made Mourinho one very disappointed man. This alone might just raise a smile at Stamford Bridge.

It is also another pointer to the strength of the Premier League. Gone are the days when the super-powers from Spain and Italy could simply wave a chequebook in the direction of England and get their man.

Real Madrid and Inter Milan have failed in the pursuit of Manchester United and Chelsea's prize assets - this tells you where the power-base lies now. It is here in the Premier League.

It is a victory for new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. I sat just feet away from Scolari at his Chelsea coronation when he announced with great conviction that Lampard had told him he wanted to stay at Stamford Bridge for many years.

This statement prompted some swift posturing from Lampard's camp within minutes, but all's well that ends well and Chelsea and the player will be elated with this deal.

Scolari was as firm in his belief that Lampard would stay as Chelsea were in their insistence he would not leave - and both the statements I heard at that plush Cobham hotel have come to pass.

Chelsea have had to make concessions of their own to keep Lampard out of Inter's clutches, namely increasing the length of their contract offer by 12 months from an offer of four years.

Lampard's camp can claim victory by getting their five-year deal, but Chelsea can do likewise by keeping one of their major players at Stamford Bridge.

And the fact they could announce it on the eve of the new season is a not-so-gentle reminder to Manchester United that Chelsea will once again have their most dangerous weapons available to them again this season.

It is a perfect response to the mind games that have already started, with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claiming Chelsea were past their peak and Stamford Bridge captain John Terry replying in kind with a barb aimed at Old Trafford.

Lampard has been the country's finest goalscoring midfielder in recent years, although I stand by my belief that Liverpool's Steven Gerrard is the more complete package.

But no-one can doubt his importance to Chelsea and it would have been a huge footballing and psychological blow had he left.

If there is one question I would raise about what will be a hugely lucrative deal, it would be the length of contract for a player who is now 30 and has a lot of miles on the clock.

My own view was that Chelsea's four-year offer was on the limit of generosity, while five seems to be a reward for the service Lampard has given to the club in the past.

Lampard is the consumate professional, but it will be some achievement if he is still the heartbeat of Chelsea's midfield in five years' time.

Chelsea will ignore those legitimate doubts and believe this is price worth paying for a player who has proved his ability and courage (remember the Champions League semi-final penalty against Liverpool just days after the death of his mother?) on countless occasions.

It is a sign of the power of both Chelsea and the Premier League that Inter Milan and Mourinho have failed in a very public bid to court him - and a warning shot from Scolari to his rivals that this is a man who means business.

Comments

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  • 1. At 6:54pm on 13 Aug 2008, FreddyOfGreggs wrote:

    Don't you think it's ironic, Phil, that others like you in the media are constantly whinging about how player's contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on, long deals don't mean anything, etc.

    Yet you have an unflinching view that Lampard will honour his contract. He's not a particularly honourable man, as far as I can see. Presumably Chelsea offered him more money than Inter, or perhaps he realised he's not the talent he thinks he is, and that he can get by better in a team that's based around him, not the manager.

    Lampard will not see out his contract, Phil, and don't say you don't know it.

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  • 2. At 6:57pm on 13 Aug 2008, Vox Populi wrote:

    I also think its ironic that people in the media start writing about 'boring transfer sagas' dragging on when its the media who perpetuate them!

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  • 3. At 7:01pm on 13 Aug 2008, booboyboo wrote:

    5 years for a player of his age is ridiculous - not least given that wealth of midfilders at Chelsea. As a Man U fan you cannot question the players record (goals and apperances) but it will hardly keep me awake at night thinking the premiership is over now he has signed for the long term. Great Premiership player for Chelsea - possibly in top three but poor as can be at International level and he is no Stevie G. Well done Frank enjoy the pay day. Excellent use by your MR 15% of Mourhino to get you what you wanted- may have actually earned his cut - Did i really just say that?
    Great for Lampard Good for Chelsea for next 2- 3 years and poor for the last two years.

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  • 4. At 7:03pm on 13 Aug 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I personally would be very surprised if Lampard sees out his five years, but that could be because in time Chelsea will decide to sell him.

    This is the other side of the coin as far as contracts are concerned.

    I would love contracts to be honoured, but it is a brutal fact of football that they aren't - and this applies to clubs as well as players.

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  • 5. At 7:12pm on 13 Aug 2008, FreddyOfGreggs wrote:

    "If Chelsea decide to sell him".

    Surely unless you have developed Sherlock-esque skills, Phil, we will never know whether Chelsea will want to sell him or whether he wanted out.

    What I'm saying is I find it ludicrous you assume in your article that Chelsea have him, to quote, "secured, for the rest of his top class career".

    Even you, Phil, know that what your article said isn't true - and you also know Chelsea are going to stick by Lampard. So to say both, is, quite frankly, hypocritical.

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  • 6. At 7:13pm on 13 Aug 2008, meomyone wrote:

    The way I read the situation here is that Mr. Mourinho does not ran Inter but Massimo Moratti very much does. It was the Inter President who said that it was up to Lampard to make the first move if he wanted to join Inter. He said time and again that Inter were not to get involved in a public auction over the player.So where is the 'sign of power of both Chelsea......business' evident? Inter just chanced it but in no way did they force the issue. And ultimately, the duration of the player's contract extension was touted as the major stumbling block, so once Chelsea gave in on that Inter were well out of contention. And Inter's interest had started to wain some days ago.

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  • 7. At 7:19pm on 13 Aug 2008, fgpaul wrote:

    i think phil has got it pretty much right, in that Chelsea would rather pay out 2 years too many on a contract, purely to keep the player and out of mourinhos' hands.

    however, no matter what you say in terms of overall value of the deal, Lampard is still arguably the most consistent central midfielder in the prem. ans I'm a liverpool fan (who like many have a passionate dislike of all things chelski!). if chelsea really want to be challenging for the title this year, they need lampard. Deco is a very clever player, but who knows how he's going to adapt, particulalry on cold winter nights up north!

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  • 8. At 7:19pm on 13 Aug 2008, tpj500 wrote:

    anyone else think its a stupidly long contract for a player who is already 30? Fair enough he's one of their top players, but that deal will take him through to when he's 35/36. What real use will he be to a club like Chelsea, who presumably will still be challenging for titles then, when he's that age? Particularly on huge wages like that. Makes Man Utd's policy of constantly reviewing Scholes' and Giggs' contracts look a lot more sensible

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  • 9. At 7:21pm on 13 Aug 2008, tpj500 wrote:

    fgpaul.. so he's spending silly money simply in order to stop mourinho, who manages a club that Chelsea probably won't even play, getting hold of him.

    Seems a strange way to run a club to me. a two-year-deal that can then be reviewed makes more sense, then they could lower the wages if need be. If he doesn't accept that then fine, let him go, save the cash and get someone younger in

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  • 10. At 7:27pm on 13 Aug 2008, The Unused Substitute wrote:

    Was there really any need for that Gerrard comment Phil? Anyway, great news for us - the best signing we've made all season.

    Well done Frank, you've made the right choice. I look forward to 5 more fantastic years from you.

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  • 11. At 7:28pm on 13 Aug 2008, Ranbir wrote:

    What has happened here is Lampard threatened to join Mourinho so they finally submitted to his wage demands. RA once again shows his pettiness and silly way of handling the biz.

    What I'm interested to know is what kind of defence will we be fielding when we've got Essien, Lampard, Deco and Ballack to put in our midfield.

    And Joe Cole, who is traditionally a central player that always finds himself playing wide!

    Notice we've not bought cover for Terry and Carvalho? Ben Haim left so that leaves Alex.

    Is there some belief they won't get injured this season? Ridiculous.

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  • 12. At 7:32pm on 13 Aug 2008, m42her wrote:

    Typically hyperbolic over the top british press reaction. Lazy journalism.

    Both Ronaldo and Lampard are important for their clubs. But them coming and going was just a way for the media to keep themselves amused in the absence of any stories of real interest, and was a way for football writers work this summer without having to do any real legwork, research or apply too much skill.

    In the grand scheme of football, in 50 years time, no one will be talking about that amazing summer in 2008 when 2 players carried on playing for the same clubs they did the season before. Chelsea, United and football will carry on long past the careers of Ronaldo and Lampard.

    Lampard has signed a 5 year deal that he will either

    1. retire before the end of or
    2. move to a lower league club before the end of.

    Ronaldo is staying at a club he is already at and contracted to until

    1. next summer when he will realise his and his mother's repeatedly stated dream of playing for madrid or
    2. the summer after when fergie has said he will retire thereby giving Ronaldo all the reasoning he needs to accept a new challenge.

    No raspberries or shows of bravado have been fired in any direction.

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  • 13. At 7:42pm on 13 Aug 2008, diggsgiggs wrote:

    I'm interested to see how Chelsea do in midfield without Claude Makalele. Who's going to provide cover for the back four now- do the other midfielders have to change their game Don't get me wrong, when you have Michael Essien and Lamps in your midfield your always going to do ok- but CM was I think a unique talent that allowed the other midfielders to get forward and will that be the case now?

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  • 14. At 7:43pm on 13 Aug 2008, safcfan89 wrote:

    Money, not power.

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  • 15. At 7:45pm on 13 Aug 2008, The unwilling wrote:

    Home grown Chelsea talent??? Since when is Frank Lampard home grown to Chelsea... they bought him from West Ham!

    Anyway, Inter went out and bought Muntari and that was pretty much the end of it right there. Lampard signing now just means he has given up on a move to Inter.

    I think Inter will be more than happy with Muntari, he's younger and has his career ahead of him - can't really say the same about Lampard can you? IF they got him on a free then, fair do's, can't lose in that situation but I don't seriously believe Inter were ever willing to pay big money for him. So do you really think Mourinho will be that upset at missing out on Lampard?

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  • 16. At 7:47pm on 13 Aug 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To tpj500...interesting point re. length of contract.

    I personally think it is too long, but Chelsea have clearly weighed up what they believe Lampard is worth, and also what they might have had to pay to replace him had he gone.

    They have come to the decision to award him a five-year contract, and let's be brutally honest Roman Abramovich is one of the few owners with the financial muscle to match such a commitment with a degree of comfort.

    It is certainly an interesting contrast to Arsenal and Manchester United, where players over 30 have a real fight on their hands to get long contracts.

    What do Chelsea fans think? Is it too long or is it a price worth paying and a commitment worth making?

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  • 17. At 7:49pm on 13 Aug 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To The_unwilling...ok - English talent as opposed to foreign import.

    He is home-grown, but nurtured at Upton Park rather than Chelsea, not that too many West Ham fans are keen to remember him these days.

    Lampard and Terry have provided a vital English core to Chelsea's team, and apologies to West Ham in the process.

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  • 18. At 7:56pm on 13 Aug 2008, SamLynes wrote:

    Lampard's goal against Utd in the CL final summed up his worth to Chelsea. It dragged them back into a game they were otherwise well beaten in.

    Despite the rumours about Robinho and Kaka, Chelsea have gone about their business this summer in a more sensible manner. Making money on average-at-best players like Sidwell, Bhoularhouz and Ben Haim whilst ensuring that they didn't lose the key players like Carvalho - even tying players like Cech and Essien on long term contracts.

    Chelsea's squad this year is of a smaller size than last year, but of infinitely better quality and this is something that cannot be underestimated if your fighting on all four fronts as Abramovich demands.

    Is Lampard worth the money he is on ? Is any player. But that goal gave Chelsea a route back into a CL final that otherwise would have been beyond them. Had Terry not missed THAT penalty then Lampard's contract would have been paid for by the victory.

    If Chelsea can get three more good years out of Lampard then who is to say he may not repay them in those years, in which case he will deserve the last two as his reward.

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  • 19. At 7:57pm on 13 Aug 2008, The Unused Substitute wrote:

    "What do Chelsea fans think? Is it too long or is it a price worth paying and a commitment worth making?"

    Honestly?

    I think it's a price worth paying. Frank is a wonderful player and a great goalscorer. If you can show me a player that scores as many goals from midfield as he does and has the same influence, I will quite happily eat my words. But let's face it, you're going to be looking for a very long time.

    A tip for any club: Keeping your best players is just as important as signing new ones.

    By the way, well-written article Phil.

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  • 20. At 8:00pm on 13 Aug 2008, slegyroll wrote:

    Phil, you exaggerated when you compared Chelsea to Mourihno. Of course we believe he can spark controversies but we made him off to get on.

    Mourihno gave up on Frank because of the insight and ability to know when he is losing.

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  • 21. At 8:01pm on 13 Aug 2008, slegyroll wrote:

    Phil, you exaggerated when you compared Chelsea to Mourihno. Of course we believe he can spark controversies but we paid him off to get on.

    Mourihno gave up on Frank because of the insight and ability to know when he is losing.

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  • 22. At 8:04pm on 13 Aug 2008, thouston wrote:

    Frank staying only exacerbates the problem
    of Makele leaving. You've lost your best tackler in midfield and resigned your worst.
    If John Terry ends up hurt for a month or so
    as in the past you'll be dropping points left and right to likes of Wigan and Bolton.

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  • 23. At 8:06pm on 13 Aug 2008, EnglandsCaptain wrote:

    His goal to game ratio last season was better than any of the last seven since he joined the club, and that was blighted by injury.

    yes it's his last contract, and yes he wanted more money, and maybe the likes of Shevchenko and Ballacks wages have raised the bar too much, but look at Ferdinand demanding a new contract after Utd opened the back door for him to evade a drugs test and suffered the consequent ban....what did they do? Paid him for the following five years, and many more i'm sure...

    Although different in that they have been brought through the academy, Scholes, Giggs and Gary Neville have all been repaid for being good and loyal servants to the club, so why not someone else, however much you disagree with them.

    It's the business side of the game and no one likes it, lets focus on the next nine months worth of games and enjoy them

    Lampards signature is the best one that Chelsea will get this coming season

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  • 24. At 8:09pm on 13 Aug 2008, foxesfan-kris wrote:

    fairplay to lampard i like himits only good news to chelsea if any player is worth the money then its lampard he be great in a leicester shirt lol well i can dream . Good luck to lampard and may he have 5 successfull years .

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  • 25. At 8:41pm on 13 Aug 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Another question for Chelsea fans.

    Claude Makelele has gone and Deco arrived - now Frank Lampard is staying.

    How do you think Chelsea's midfield will line up?

    It is also a big season for Joe Cole, who I feel is a fantastic talent.

    Where do you see a place for him in Chelsea's team?

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  • 26. At 8:41pm on 13 Aug 2008, RobVilla wrote:

    Disappointed by this Phil - a very lazy article.
    Chelsea have attempted to cover their own back inadvertently with a poor deal for the club.
    No doubt Frank and his agent are laughing. Lumpard like many of his England team contemparies is incredibly over rated and would not have been good enough to get into any of the last 8 teams in Euro 2008. Deco, Ballack and Essien are all far superior players to Lampard
    Mourinho will probably be given the £12m he will require next June to bag his man so Cheslea don't lose quite so much

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  • 27. At 8:46pm on 13 Aug 2008, gc wrote:

    5 years is a lot for a 30 year old. It is Lampard though and if anybody can still be the man at 33-34-35 it is him. He has been the fittest footballer in the premier league in the last 8 years and that makes it less of a gamble. Don't forget he holds the record for consecutive appearances in the league -not just for an outfield player.
    As for comparisons to Gerrard, Lampard is surrounded by a lot more talent and still is The Man for Chelsea. Gerrard is more important to Liverpool and possibly a better player (I disagree) but until Torres was by far and away the most talented player on the team.

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  • 28. At 9:00pm on 13 Aug 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    EnglandsCaptain said Lampard is the best signing Chelsea will make this summer.

    Is that true? Do Chelsea still need more players?

    And what about supporters of their title rivals? Tell me how much retaining the services of Lampard will mean to their Premier League chances.

    Are you concerned that Chelsea have kept him? Would you rather they had lost him.

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  • 29. At 9:01pm on 13 Aug 2008, The Unused Substitute wrote:

    "Another question for Chelsea fans.

    Claude Makelele has gone and Deco arrived - now Frank Lampard is staying.

    How do you think Chelsea's midfield will line up?

    It is also a big season for Joe Cole, who I feel is a fantastic talent.

    Where do you see a place for him in Chelsea's team?"

    I think Scolari knows where our best players lie - in midfield.

    I believe that, when everyone is fit, he'll play a diamond so that he can fit in Lampard, Essien, Deco and Ballack. Unfortunately, this is not good news for Joe Cole.

    When both are fit, I feel Scolari will go for a strike partnership of Anelka and Drogba. If Anelka (or Drogba for that matter) fails to perform, Joe Cole could take up a free role behind the striker. That position could also be taken up by Robinho, if he joins Chelsea.

    I genuinely believe that we have the best squad and, if we keep everyone fit, we are in a strong position to win the Premiership.

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  • 30. At 9:05pm on 13 Aug 2008, M wrote:

    In what world are you living in Phil? The top poster put it perfectly. Surely the media knows that there's still little preventing Lampard going off to Inter next season.

    Admittedly Chelsea have one-upped Mourinho - now he'll have to pay big for Lampard if he really wants him, but I'm sure it's no more than Inter can afford. Much like Ronaldo, I'll wait until next summer's tedious transfer debacle has finished before I believe any players will be staying at clubs for the 'rest of their careers'.

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  • 31. At 9:16pm on 13 Aug 2008, Backshot wrote:

    To the unused substitute ... I believe Ronaldo is a midfielder who has more influence and scores more goals. Yes he plays wide in more of a 3 up attack, but so did Joe Cole ...

    And as a Manchester United fan, and much as it pains me to say it, Gerrard is twice the player Frank is. In the same way as David Platt - he scores goals aplenty, but his all round game is way short of the standards Gerrard sets.

    Final point on contracts - Franks is effectively a 4 year contract. At the end of the 4th year he can buy it out. It would also be interesting to know the details on years 3 and 4 - do his wages reduce ? Are they contingent on number of games played ? Is there are release clause for the club with agreed compensation - one for Frank too ? These are the important details. Look at the way American Football contracts are written - there is the headline number but these are often misleading and the actuakl figures are usually salary cap friendly with plenty of bonus money but less "guaranteed money"

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  • 32. At 9:23pm on 13 Aug 2008, ChopperHarris wrote:

    Shame really. Despite all the talent in the squad over the past few years, Chelsea have never really dominated games from midfield. I was hoping that Lampard's departure would see a new-look midfield that would actually stand up and be counted in the really important games. I think Lampard would have struggled at Inter anyway, as his general technique is average to say the least. As an earlier poster pointed out: Lampard and his contempories in the England squad are vastly over-rated in terms of basic footballing skills when compared to footballers from most other European countries. Why? All boils down, in my opinion, to our antiquated coaching system, which throws up numerous journeymen like McClaren that read all the out-dated coaching manuals but haven't got an ounce of flair or imagination in their brains.

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  • 33. At 9:31pm on 13 Aug 2008, CartwrightCasual wrote:

    Two things on the article and previous comments.
    1. Everyone knows that contracts do not tie either club or player for any amount of time, regardless of the period involved. If there is a strong enough desire on either side, a way will be found to cancel or dissolve it. The key thing here is that it provides a chance for both parties to focus on football and stop speculation, which is a good thing for both Frank and Chelsea.
    2. As for Chelsea's defensive frailties in light of Claude Makalele's departure, I would not be overly concerned. As a Chelsea fan, and an avid admirer of Claude (did you know that Argentine footie commentators refer to him as "El pulpo negro"/"The black octopus"...!), it is of course a pity to lose someone who has arguably been the best ball winner in football for the last decade. Nevertheless, if Frank is pushing it at 30 as some suggest, surely a case can be argued that it is time for Claude to start winding down. A disaster for Chelsea? No way. Although Jon Obi Mikel still has a lot to learn, he is in my opinion one of the biggest prospects in football. His combination of physical strength, excellent technique, and a reading of the game which belies his youth, makes him perfect to follow in the footsteps of the great little Makalele. Watch out for him as a premiership revelation already this season.

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  • 34. At 9:32pm on 13 Aug 2008, DAVEYOH wrote:

    AS A MAN UTD FAN IM NOT TO HAPPY WITH LAMPS STAYING IN THE PREMIERSHIP,AS CLEAR FOR ALL TO SEE HE HAS BAGS OF TALENT.
    I ALSO DISAGREE THAT LAMPS WOULD'NT OF CUT IT IN ITALY.HE'S JUST ONE OF THEM PLAYERS THAT COULD FIT IN TO ANY TEAM LIKE IF SCHOLES OR GIGGS WERE HAD EVER OF MOVED THEY WOULD FIT IN TO ANY TEAM.3 DAYS TO GO FOR THE BIGGEST AND BEST EVER SEASON YET.

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  • 35. At 9:34pm on 13 Aug 2008, ShackyTauro wrote:

    As an opposition fan I always make a simple judgement: would I sooner play against the opposition with or without a certain player? In Lampard's case, I would far sooner Chelsea line up without him in their side, therefore from a purely selfish perspective I hoped he would leave. He works extremely hard and is always dangerous, even on an off day he can ping one in from 25 yards.

    Good business for Chelsea, a replacement of equal calibre would have cost far more than the two superflous years on his contract, not to mention the feelgood factor associated with this deal.

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  • 36. At 9:38pm on 13 Aug 2008, bendybowls wrote:

    Frank Lampard is the most over-rated midfielder in the English Premiership. For long enough we have heard about the difficulty facing an England manager, can Gerrard and Lampard play in the same team at international level.

    This to me is a ridiculous question as Lampard is not good enough to lace Gerrards boots. To me he should be playing for one of the mid-table English Premiership teams, i.e Villa, Portsmouth etc.

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  • 37. At 9:47pm on 13 Aug 2008, Diablo Rojo wrote:

    'what I've achieved over the past seven years' apart from 2 of them, what exactly is that then?

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  • 38. At 9:59pm on 13 Aug 2008, fergaljpc wrote:

    i sense the press are a bit annoyed that nobody knew what was to be announced, and why all the secrecy/cloak and dagger stuff, guess it wouldn't be chelsea otherwise....has about as much impact as announcing that the hotdogs are 1/2 price at all champions league games...

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  • 39. At 10:01pm on 13 Aug 2008, rsdemelo wrote:

    Double standards. The premiership big boys don't like it when the Spanish or Italians court their players but think they are perfectly entitled to do exactly the same to perceived lesser clubs. Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool are blatantly guilty while Arsenal sem to be better but no saints.

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  • 40. At 10:06pm on 13 Aug 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To bendybowls...a wind-up surely. I am no cheerleader for Lampard and openly admit I prefer Gerrard, but over-rated? I can't have that.

    Look at his goal-scoring record, his successes, and also his character.

    Lampard has repaid every penny of the £11m Chelsea paid West Ham and more besides.

    Jose Mourinho certainly knows Lampard's worth, and your comment about him being more suited to Villa and Portsmouth is a very cheap shot at those clubs and Lampard.

    As I said, I am not being a Lampard cheerleader but that is one opinion I certainly don't subscribe to.

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  • 41. At 10:19pm on 13 Aug 2008, Frank_Booth wrote:

    I quote, "Lampard has been the country's finest goalscoring midfielder in recent years, although I stand by my belief that Liverpool's Steven Gerrard is the more complete package."

    You don't mind if I stand by my belief that Ronaldo has been the country's finest midfielder in recent years. He even won a few awards for his perfomances.

    What's all this rot about, 'If we can keep players fit?'. Players do invariably get injured over the course of a season, if chelsea don't have the squad to deal with injuries then there's no hope for anyone.

    Can you imagine the fuss, excuses and moaning if your captain was out for a year?

    You probably wish he was injured for the European cup final.

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  • 42. At 10:29pm on 13 Aug 2008, The Importance of Being Didier wrote:

    I don't think age will affect Lampard as much as it does other players. When players get old they usually lose their pace and fitness most importantly. However Lampard has never relied on any pace (he's never had any!) and he is one of Chelsea's most fit players. Zidane ruled the world into his 30's and although Frank is no Zizou, you can see that, along with Beckham, they don't rely on pace but rather their tactical nous.

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  • 43. At 10:47pm on 13 Aug 2008, mankyblue wrote:

    much as it pains me and he's quite a different midfielder but that dancing prancing preening egosentric thing that plays for ManU called Ronaldo has far and away been the finest goal scoring midfielder in recent years ....
    Frank and Chelski deserve each other money money money .... thats what the extra year was about, 4mill for a season he probably wont take part in and he knows it ... plus he'll get a testamonial along the way !!!!! CHA-Ching !!! Make sure you've got enough Frank, wouldnt want you to dip below 20mill in your current account ....

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  • 44. At 10:56pm on 13 Aug 2008, jvm576 wrote:

    And what about supporters of their title rivals? Tell me how much retaining the services of Lampard will mean to their Premier League chances.

    Are you concerned that Chelsea have kept him? Would you rather they had lost him.

    In response to this question phil, as a united fan I personally feel that, although the positive effect securing lampards signature will have upon the chelsea squad, this will be a relatively short lived boost. As with all teams if they are going to be title contenders then although one player can be very influential if they happened to leave then in the long run (for example over the course of a season) it shouldn't make to larger difference.

    Invariably a player will step up to the plate and although not as effective as the player who left will to some degree compensate for the players absence.

    I personally feel that although lampard isn't the best midfielder chelsea have from a technical point of view he is by far and away there best player with it comes to emotional involvement, and I think people often forget how much this means in football. Without Sir Alex's passion for manchester united I very much doubt we would have had such a successful 20 years and that he would still be doing such a great job to this day.

    Last season chelsea were a few injuries and the width of a post from probably winning the treble (all be it not as gd as in 1999) and it cannot be denied they have an amazing team.

    However although lampards signature will be a boost for chelsea, ronaldo's decision to stay, ok it may be for just one more season will undoubtably have had the same effect at united.

    But you have to remember united have beaten that same chelsea team which includes lampard for the last two seasons on the trott, (alright chelsea fans may say but we've got deco now and scolari), but i would say united are younger and with an average age of 2-3 yrs younger than chelsea 1st XI surely as with most sports chelsea are moving past their peak. I think it is going to come down to whether come the end of the season who has had the better luck, because the gap between united and chelsea is probably only the width of a post, and Lampard signing for 4 more years is not that larger deal when considering the variables which can take place over the course of a season.

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  • 45. At 10:57pm on 13 Aug 2008, Lampard the goal machine wrote:

    The_ unwilling: Homegrown as in Lampsh was made in London and Chelsea is a London club.

    Anyway West Ham didn't want Lampard so it's there fault for rejecting him.

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  • 46. At 11:25pm on 13 Aug 2008, bendybowls wrote:

    To Phil McNulty (see post 40)

    Why would you consider this to be a wind up? My comment regarding Lampard as being overated is based on the performances I have seen from him over a number of years (I admit on TV only). He is a very combative midfield player but not a match winner which is what everyone would have us believe.

    "His successes", the last I checked it was the team that secured success. So when your surrounded by the talent that Chelsea have at their disposal it is no great surprise that he has enjoyed success.

    "Cheap shot at Villa and Portsmouth". No, a recognition of their chances to break down the big four. If all the Premiership managers are honest there is a three league setup within the Premiership. The top four, can we get into the UEFA CUP nd can we avoid relegation.

    "Cheap shot ..... and Lampard". Again, no! He has matured since moving from West Ham but I doubt he could cut it there now without the presence of other top quality players around.

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  • 47. At 11:32pm on 13 Aug 2008, jvm576 wrote:

    "Cheap shot ..... and Lampard". Again, no! He has matured since moving from West Ham but I doubt he could cut it there now without the presence of other top quality players around.

    Are you telling me bendybowls that if lampard went to west ham he wouldn't be their best player by quite a distance and probably help west ham to 2 or 3 places higher than they would finish if they didn't have him?

    Hmmm I think although like a lot of players who are constantly scoring goals the media instantly hype them up to be wonderplayers, then as soon as they hit poor form they turn on the player as if they were some how decieving the whole world as to there real ability!

    I have no doubt that if ronaldo has a poor start to this season everyone will say AHA! he doesn't want to be at united, he's not one of the best players in the world! So although Lampard like most can be over hyped i do feel you do him an injustice to say anyone would do well in the chelsea midfield, I would love to see a player from a low league play in the same position and be as influential for chelsea

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  • 48. At 11:42pm on 13 Aug 2008, bendybowls wrote:

    I would not say that lower league players would be as influential as Lampard, but other lesser rated midfield players in the Premiership could fulfill his role with equal success.

    As an example I would propose Nico Kranjcar. To me highly talented, good goal scorer from midfield.

    Only question mark would be is he a leader? Something I would admit Lampard has in spades!

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  • 49. At 11:42pm on 13 Aug 2008, Trickiano_Ricaldo wrote:

    I personally think this is a good time for Chelsea. Which other English midfielders have the ability to score 20 goals + a season? Not just that, which other midfielders in the world can score 20+ goals per season? He's showing immense loyalty to the Chelsea, and I certainly would not want him to emigrate.

    He's played before the Abramovich era and during it. This surely shows his character to deal with pressure of performing in two different types of teams. People don't give Lampard enough credit he deserves.

    English fans need to stop slamming their players and get behind them! The art of a true fan is supporting your team through thick and thin. I think England has too much of a "point and blame" culture. Why do people not like Lampard? By the way, silly, immature insults do not count...

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  • 50. At 01:28am on 14 Aug 2008, RON wrote:

    As a Chelsea fan the news that Lamps is staying with the Blues is great did we really think he would be sold to Inter for under the 11 million we paid for him from the Hammers.Can anybody think of a midfielder on the planet that has scored more goals than Frank.People might have thought with Deco joining the Blues Lamps was off not a bit of it in pre-season games you could see that Deco and Frank could still infiltrate the opposition and produce exciting midfield runs and interweave passes.

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  • 51. At 05:14am on 14 Aug 2008, manucastle wrote:

    I agree with Bendybowls for his comment regarding Lumpard being overpriced. many of his goals would not have been in the net had it not been for one or two deflections. (Maybe even 3 ot 4!!!!).

    FLID = Frank Lumpard incidence of deflection

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  • 52. At 06:53am on 14 Aug 2008, footballisfixed wrote:

    "...consumate professional"?
    "...country's finest goalscoring midfielder"?

    Frank Lampard?

    What about all those matches when the man is, in effect, a non-trier?

    What about his scoring record against the Big 3 (something like 1 goal in 35 matches)?

    What about World Cup 2006 when he managed to avoid a single shot on target while repeatedly targeting Row Z?

    Mourinho never wanted Lampard an Inter. That was a fake illusion created by the English media to fill column inches. There was no coverage in the Italian press for this nonsense.

    For Reality rather than Illusion, check:
    http://footballisfixed.blogspot.com/


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  • 53. At 07:52am on 14 Aug 2008, Biblicalprportions wrote:

    Do not see a stronger squad ....? Good to see the pictures with all the leg strapping, 5 year deal until 2014 ... Chelsea pensions! I wonder if Cech can manage to fill in the missing shape on his hat this term? Actually I am glad Lamps will still be in the Prem next year, 25 blazed shots over the bar each game cuts down the chances Chelsea can actually score. I wonder what 'sell by date' product Chavski will purchase in Jan?

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  • 54. At 08:09am on 14 Aug 2008, decomposingcomposers wrote:

    Frank fully deserves 5 years after all he has given to date.
    Here's to another 20 in the coming season, no other Premiership team has one like him.

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  • 55. At 08:31am on 14 Aug 2008, C-Moon-Bocanegra wrote:

    Just one thought, of course Frank won't see out a 5 year contract at his age and so what if he doesn't! He is as much a part of Chelsea as Mr Chelsea (JT) and it's great he's re-signed for us - what a midfield!!!

    And, Frank has played 347 times and scored 110 goals in his Chelsea career - it's not difficult to get these things right you know!

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  • 56. At 09:06am on 14 Aug 2008, mindzapppp wrote:

    I have a question for Phil McNulty

    What happened to journalism, in the investigative, or story-telling sense? I want to learn something.

    Instead all this blog provides me with is the spoon-fed lines of the PR machine of a club, which 'journalists' lap up whilst sitting in the comfy surroundings of the Stamford Bridge Press Room.

    Its nothing new, nothing interesting, and hardly even anything to do with sport.

    This information is nothing more than a sad reflection of the obscene amounts of money in the game, that have produced a generation of greedy, pampered, preening 'sports stars', prepared to rip off football fans for the chance to park their Bentleys in disabled parking spots.

    Why not tell them to get stuffed, and replicate the works of some of the Guardian football journalists like David Conn, Jonathon Wilson - exposees of football finances, the murky goings on behind clubs facades, or fantastic re-tellings of foreign football leagues and great teams, players and matches of years gone by.

    This information is nothing that I couldnt find elsewhere, or develop an opinion of on my own (that appears to be shared by most other people): Lampard's contract is way too long and pays him too much money.

    He hasnt been loyal at all, he's played on the fact that so many young kids worship him as a player, and that Chelsea won't want to sell him (despite the fact he'd happily go running to Inter if he didnt get what he want). Instead, the fans will have to fork out for his salary in the long run, under these misguided attemps by Chelsea to break even by 2010. His talent as a footballer is severely limiited as a footballer, no matter how much effort he puts in on the training ground, and he has been the main reason, as the central pivot in the team, why Chelsea's style of football under Abramovich has been so limited.

    As a fan, I might even chip in a little extra for my match tickets just to make sure he gets all the money he wants.

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  • 57. At 09:13am on 14 Aug 2008, acca247 wrote:

    bbc is becoming like any online blog, biased and lopsided reporting that we can only comment on in the same way. Your answer yes ''it is mourinho's fault'' ha ha ha

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  • 58. At 09:25am on 14 Aug 2008, decomposingcomposers wrote:

    mindzapppp,

    What rubbish, 'his talents as a footballer is severely limited'.

    Watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T1q3wYVOpU

    or this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Agc4PVdYC74

    You have, quite 'Frankly', no idea what you're talking about.

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  • 59. At 09:33am on 14 Aug 2008, mindzapppp wrote:

    Decomposing Composers? -

    I said his talents are limited: Excellent shooting skills, a decent range of passing are some of his talents. He has stamina, and great positional sense.

    However he is totally lacking in pace, his short and long range passing are nowhere near the standard of some other midfielders in the league, he is selfish in front of goal (you could say he has a right to be), but the number of times he has shot when a pass would have been a better option is incredible, and he has no flair or guile on the pitch. I also hardly ever notice him put a tackle in.

    Those are pretty big limits to his talent if you ask me. And the reason why Chelsea arent playing the flamboyant football that Abramovich demands. Joe Cole is a vastly more accomplished midfielder than Lampard.

    And dont ever, ever use a pun like that again. For your own sake.

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  • 60. At 09:38am on 14 Aug 2008, queengunnerbgood wrote:

    It has got nothing to do with talent - such as it is?! - it has come to the same old thing greed, Chelsea offered more money, if he really wanted to stay he wouldn't have needed £150,000 a week to persuade him

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  • 61. At 09:39am on 14 Aug 2008, SamLynes wrote:

    I do love the whole Gerrard/Lampard debate.

    I personally both have a positive impact on their club and that both are different players but if people continue to consider them as 'similar' then one statistic I would like to put forward is :-

    Lampard - England Caps 61, goals 15
    Gerrard - England Caps 67, goals 13

    Lampard - Chelsea matches 369, goals 110
    Gerrard - Liverpool matches 440, goals 96

    So when people slate Lampard as being very average compared to Gerrard, they should look at that.

    In a world where even unproven, uncapped young English players cost up to £10m, I think Chelsea got (although I never thought it at the time) a good deal with Lampard for £11m. Have they got a good deal by offering him a contract ? Well what have they lost ?!?

    When people start asking is Lampard too old - well people are making a lot of references to him not being able to cut it for the next five years, and at the same time asking why Chelsea let Makelele go, and he was 35.

    Why did Chelsea let him go ? Well they have Mikel and Essien who are both capable and it might even give youngsters like Woods a chance to break into the team at some point. Equally by not asking for a fee they let him join a club in his homeland for the last year or two of his career as a reward for the service he gave. A nice gesture I think.

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  • 62. At 10:03am on 14 Aug 2008, First of the Gang wrote:

    It's obvious Lampard never had any intentions of joining Inter - Lampard used them to force Chelsea to pay him what he wanted. I'm surprised Jose fell for it, and even more surprised that Chelsea caved in to Lampards demands - there is no way he is worth that sort of money, and he'll struggle to get a place on Chelsea's bench in 3 years time - let alone the first 11 - leaving Chelsea to pay £140,000 a week for the last 2 years of his contract when he'll hardly feature in the first team at all ....

    Mugs ....

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  • 63. At 10:05am on 14 Aug 2008, decomposingcomposers wrote:

    mindzapppp,

    You may not be his biggest fan but I can assure you that whatever his 'deficiencies' he is regarded as indispensible by Chelsea fans.
    No pace?
    Neither had Bryan Robson but he also found the net on a regular basis by reading the game better that the rest.
    Can't tackle?
    He doesn't need to. We have others(e.g. Mikel) looking after that department.

    Enjoy the coming season.

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  • 64. At 10:13am on 14 Aug 2008, richieboy10 wrote:

    There is an easy way to solve the Gerrard/Lampard debate, as we each have our own opinions on which statistics to compare etc...

    Which would you rather have in your team?

    Gerrard or Lampard?

    Personally i don't think that Lampard is Chelsea's best midfielder, although he is clearly productive.

    I can't remember the last time i saw Lampard create a goal for his strikers. He shoots; and hopes for a deflection or unsighted keeper.

    A large part of the reason Shevchenko hasn't scored the goals he should've.

    Ballack is much the superior footballer.

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  • 65. At 10:14am on 14 Aug 2008, mindzapppp wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 66. At 10:37am on 14 Aug 2008, beNZed wrote:

    Another sign that Chavski are a completely separate beast playing on a completely separate field from the rest. Abramovich doesn't want MaureenYo to get one over him, so he offers a huge money 5 year contract to Lampard just to make a point. Lampard's hips won't take another 5 years of his massive weight slapping deflected thunderbolts in off opposition players from 30 yards for another 5 years, nor will the club be able to keep the player cafeteria stocked enough with food for his gargantuan appetite for such a lengthy period, but in order to get his way and win a small ego battle, Roman pays out an inane amount for a contract that will be as ultimately well served by either side as that of Sonny Bill Williams in the Australian NRL rugby league competition last month.

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  • 67. At 11:06am on 14 Aug 2008, richard crisford wrote:

    did kenyon state at the press conference when chelski were aiming to be self-sufficient now they've given a 30 yr old a £40m contract?

    don't be fooled by "power of premier league" rubbish. at any other club he'd be gone. only chelski offer those sort of contracts to players that age.

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  • 68. At 11:26am on 14 Aug 2008, zola6425 wrote:

    Although i agree that Man United's policy of reviewing players' contracts every year and deciding whether to offer them new ones once they reach a certain age, i do believe that tying a player down for a long term deal is a better way of ensuring that that player will in fact stay at the club and not leave for free.
    I mean, if United turned around one day and said that Giggs or Scholes were no longer needed, and that they'd be sold or moved out, i can imagine they'd feel pretty disapointed with that decision etc.
    Chelsea are simply trying to keep their man, whose been there for 7 years now, for a longer period. It shows commitment both from the player and from the club, loyalty as well!
    Whether Chelsea sell him or not at some point is up to them, and whether he plays a lot of games when he reaches that age is also going to be interesting to see. Giggs on the other hand is still playing 20+ games a season and one can argue that he's ran up an awful lot of miles throughout his career, especially in the latter years.

    Give the guy some credit! Yes he's awful for England! But he's brilliant every year for Chelsea and that's the reason for the length of contract! Although i must admit that the wages are excessive, but that's all to do with the modern game being all about money and wanting parity with other players.

    On another note, it amuses me to read ppl saying that Inter is run by the president and not the manager etc etc, when in fact neither Inter nor Real publicly placed a bid with the opposite club for the prospective player, wanting them to make the first moves. That's all a load of balogny! What happened to clubs bidding for players the normal old fashioned way eh?!

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  • 69. At 11:34am on 14 Aug 2008, severalshadesofblue wrote:

    Can't imagine Fergie quaking at the prospect of having to face Lampard for another half a decade. He's been carried by other quality acts in the Chelsea team for years and light years behind Essien, Deco and Ballack in ability. I can't believe people even mention him in the same breath as Gerrard.

    More a triumph for Man Utd than Chelsea I'd say.

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  • 70. At 11:35am on 14 Aug 2008, EnglandsCaptain wrote:

    I do like the way people have criticised PM for a cop out of a blog, yet it's sparked a pretty good debate so far....Job done!

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  • 71. At 11:40am on 14 Aug 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Why has this blog hi-jacked the 606 thread that was originally attached to this story article yesterday afternoon?

    Why do we have to trawl through the thoughts of another journalist to get to discuss this story with fellow football fans?

    What the hell has this got to do with Mourinho? This is about Lampard and Chelsea.

    Any answers anyone or Phil?

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  • 72. At 11:59am on 14 Aug 2008, The Unused Substitute wrote:

    I can't say that i'm surprised this blog has turned into a 'Gerrard vs. Lampard' debate - most things do to be honest.

    All I will say is that the people who think Gerrard is better have no real statistics to back it up; it's all talk. Lampard scores more and sets more up than Gerrard virtually every season. Don't believe me? Look it up.

    For those who say Lampard isn't technically gifted or talent, go look at his Bayern Munich goal first - one of the best shows of technique i've ever seen. Not convinced? Go look at his goal at the Nou Camp. Heck, he even scored a beautiful chip just a couple of weeks ago.

    As much as people seem keen to deny, Lampard is one of the best midfielders this country has seen in years.

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  • 73. At 12:08pm on 14 Aug 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    The Unused Substitute

    I quite agree.

    People, including Phil McNulty, say that Gerrard is the more complete midfielder. Sometimes however he is completely rubbish. Other times he is completely brilliant.

    If he had the same level of consistency as Lampard has displayed over the last 5 seasons I would give him more credit.

    Me, I am happy that Lampard is staying because you know what you will get and that is proven returns.

    On the one hand some people say that Deco is better. On the other, people say that Deco is washed up and won't survive in the top flight of England. It's a contradiction that only time will prove right or wrong.

    But, as I say, you put Lampard in and the team produces goals. Simple really.

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  • 74. At 12:09pm on 14 Aug 2008, decomposingcomposers wrote:

    The Unused Substitute,

    Summed up perfectly.
    Any debate about FL always degenerates into Gerrard/Fat Frank/Chelski/What happens when Roman leaves, the usual rubbish.

    As long as FL is happy, the club is happy, the fans are happy, who gives a monkey's?

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  • 75. At 12:14pm on 14 Aug 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    What I find hugely amusing is that people think that Chelsea might sell Frank before the 5 years is up? not at £140,000 a week they won't, Frank has looked after Frank, Chelsea will be paying every last penny of what is by far and away the most ludicrous contract in English footballing history. 5 years for a 30 plus midfielder is utter stupidity.

    Frank's a tidy player nothing more, he isn't a Zidane or a Brazilian Ronaldo in his prime, that he's apparently the most handsomely remunerated footballer on the planet only serves to emphasise what a bizarre financial world Chelsea now operate in, Kenyon better hope that Chelsea keep him on long term, because there's no way his recent track record would see him gainfully employed anywhere else.

    As for the Gerrard v Lampard debate, the only sure thing there is that neither are actually as good as Phil McNulty (and to be fair a sizeable proportion of the English sporting press) thinks they are, England's international results offer a more than ample demonstration of that.

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  • 76. At 12:18pm on 14 Aug 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Chad Sexington

    On the subject of Chelsea's finances, why are you so interested in what a billionaire does with his money?

    I will say the same to you as I do most other people. Do you have a Sky Sports (or similar) subscription? If you do, then the only way to reduce the money going to the top clubs is to cancel your subscription. Ok?

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  • 77. At 12:26pm on 14 Aug 2008, pure_arab wrote:

    Personally I think this is a good piece of business. Frank has been a great servant to Chelsea for many years now and is the best all round midfielder in the country bar none.

    Have Chelsea really splashed out to get one over on Mourinho. I don't think so. Frank and the club have been talking about this contract a long long time - if my memory serves me right, even when Mourinho was at Chelsea.

    Too old in 5 years? Maybe. But as others have said, not for the next three. Can he play on? We've just lost a great servant for the club who has also just retired from international football (again) in Makele. Date of birth? 18-2-1973. I make that 35. I seem to remember him doing ok last year.

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  • 78. At 12:28pm on 14 Aug 2008, Azzurri4stars wrote:

    Why does everyone knock Mcnulty for the debate he has created??
    Get a life guys, if it wasnt for him you would be discussing the Olympics, now how sad would that be??

    Phil, I accept paypal or bankers draft.....

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  • 79. At 12:30pm on 14 Aug 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    italyno1fan

    I'm not knocking Phil. But, I don't see the point in his blog when we could happily discuss the situation in a normal 606 based on the main article itself. Also, the Mourinho angle is irrelevant I think.

    Unless you can explain differently of course.

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  • 80. At 12:42pm on 14 Aug 2008, The Unused Substitute wrote:

    "Kenyon better hope that Chelsea keep him on long term, because there's no way his recent track record would see him gainfully employed anywhere else."

    If you're talking about his performances on the pitch, you might want to take it back instantly. 07/08 was technically his most prolific season - he scored 20 goals, but was out for substantial periods due to injury.

    I just love how frustrated opposing fans gets with Lampard. He's happy with the contract, Chelsea are happy that they're keeping one of their best players and us fans are happy because we get to see one of our best players stay at the club. Why can't people just accept that?

    I also just have to add that Lampard's press conference was very pleasing to watch - he's a very dignified character, and deserves to have another 5 fantastic years at Chelsea Football Club.

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  • 81. At 12:46pm on 14 Aug 2008, karlosb wrote:

    Im not quite sure why chelsea didnt sell him! He's overrated and scores the most lucky goals I have ever seen anyone score!! Im sure his nickname is deflection!

    Seriously speaking, its a long contract for a player who is 30 and prob only got 1 maybe 2 seasons at his peak. Cheslea could easily find a replacement for him with the money they would have got and I truely believe it is Abramovich's doing in trying to get one over Mourinho.

    we'll see in the near future whether this will prove to be a complete mistake by old, past it team.

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  • 82. At 12:49pm on 14 Aug 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    karlosb
    '
    Seriously speaking, its a long contract for a player who is 30'

    Well, Makelele, Giggs and Scholes are examples on players in their 30's. Lampard has always been very fit and there is no reason whatsover to think that he can't carry on doing what he does for another few years.

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  • 83. At 12:53pm on 14 Aug 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    Mr Blueburns,

    The idea that Chelsea survive on Sky subscriptions and gate money is almost as laughable as Frank's contract. If it was Hull offering a 30 year old 5 years at a quarter of the money it would be almost as risible

    The fact is Frank's got 2 maybe 3 years playing as he does, and then he's got 2 Winston Bogarde years where nobody but Chelsea will pay his wages and thus Frank is content to sit on his behind till retirement. I wholeheartedly believe that any other club but Chelsea would've laughed Frank's demands out of the boardroom.

    That Chelsea didn't completely punctures Kenyon's self sufficiency pipe dream, and will continue to do so until Uncle Roman turns the taps off. Chelsea are insulated from financial reality by an owner for who the phrase "more money than sense" while not necessarily an insult is certainly a poor reputation to have in a business like football.

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  • 84. At 12:56pm on 14 Aug 2008, Roger_the_Pessimist wrote:

    McNulty's assertion that these two non-transfers show that the power lies in the EPL is exagerrated. The EPL is undoubtedly the richest league in the world and the most popular - there are a mountain of stats that prove that. But these two stories do not support that view.

    Firstly, the reason Ronaldo is staying put is because Fergie hates Real Madrid. he doesn't like their methods and he doesn't like the fact that they are the most successful club in the world. I reckon he said to Glazer "sell Roni and it will weaken our reputation". Whether keeping him signals the reverse I'm not too sure.

    As for Lampard. Call me a cynic but I never believe that a British player will move abroad until I see him in the press conference. Very few British players can handle the change of culture and there have been few successes. In fact, the last genuinely, not-up-for-debate British success at the highest level in Europe was, in my opinion, Paul Lambert. That was years ago.

    I don't believe that Lampard was ever going to Inter or that Mourinho ever thought he would. All the bluster has been exactly that - a stirring exercise that has ultimately benefited the player. It may actually benefit Inter as the extra money he's presumably getting on his new contract, and the fee they would've received, could have been used elsewhere.

    And if the EPL is the undoubted power base, why did Silva, who plays for the European champions, snub Man Utd? Of the 22 players who started the Euro final, four play for EPL clubs (Lehmann, Ballack, Fabregas and Torres). Not a huge number. I think the same number played in the semis as I can't think of any Turkish or Russian players who play in the EPL.

    The EPL is the most dominant league, yes, but this is sometimes overplayed by our sports writers who cannot see beyond the Channel.

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  • 85. At 12:56pm on 14 Aug 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    @ The unused substitute.

    Peter Kenyon scored 20 goals last season? fair play to him, is that why he rushed so ostentatiously up the steps to collect his champions league losers medallion?

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  • 86. At 1:12pm on 14 Aug 2008, The Unused Substitute wrote:

    Sorry, thought 'him' was referring to Lampard. Yes, Kenyon is a fool.

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  • 87. At 3:01pm on 14 Aug 2008, hc_phil wrote:

    "Scolari was as firm in his belief that Lampard would stay as Chelsea were in their insistence he would not leave - and both the statements I heard at that plush Cobham hotel have come to pass."

    It's not surprising that both statements have come to pass. Hard to imagine one coming to pass and not the other, as they amount to exactly the same thing! Presumably you mean: "Scolari was as firm in his belief that Lampard would stay as Chelsea were."

    Unless, of course, "he" refers to Scolari. Is there speculation that he might be leaving Chelsea? Is there something we haven't been told?

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  • 88. At 5:25pm on 14 Aug 2008, Hodgey - Viva Hernández wrote:

    I wouldn't say that this announcement is the end of the world for Inter and Jose Mourinho, but it certainly is a disappointment. Ever since Inter brought Sulley Muntari, they all but resigned in losing the transfer fight for Lampard.

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