Lampard future remains unclear, plus other rumours

The Frank Lampard saga rumbles on and it doesn’t look like ending any time soon.

Lots of reports this morning that Inter Milan have offered anywhere between £10m and £15m and a disinterested drunkard, sorry, Brazilian superstar striker in a part-exchange deal for Lampard’s signature.

We already have one lazy, apathetic forward (two if you believe some of the stories about our Ukrainian friend) on our books and I really can’t see us accepting another one, even if our new manager is a fellow countryman.

Some newspapers reported on Friday that Lampard would go public on his desire to quit Stamford Bridge over the weekend, but so far there hasn’t been a peep out of him or his agent. Chelsea and Inter have put the ball firmly in his court and now is the time for him to make a decision.

The current situation is souring Lampard’s popularity amongst fans. While it’s difficult to criticise him for wanting the best for himself and his family, shifting the blame on to the board isn’t the answer – the majority of supporters will always side with the club in contract disputes of this nature, particularly when the contract in question is purportedly worth £29.1m over four years.

Lampard would do well to remember that fans are a fickle lot and they won’t hesitate to make their feelings known if this impasse continues for much longer. Seven years of badge kissing doesn’t count for much in these situations.

His best bet is to make his decision public as soon as possible, before it’s too late. Personally I don’t believe he wants to stay, in my mind the current dispute with the board is a smokescreen. If he wants to play for Jose Mourinho again, say so. Fans will wish him well and move on. Playing the blame game is just making things worse.

As you would expect at this time of year, there are quite a few other transfer rumours. Most newspapers continue to link us with a move for Real Madrid’s Brazilian international forward Robinho despite a £30m price tag, while the Independent says we may also push ahead with a bid for Valencia’s David Villa.

Going in the other direction are Tal Ben Haim, linked with both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, and Shaun Wright-Phillips. The Independent reports that Portsmouth will bid £10m for our diminutive winger after signing Peter Crouch from Liverpool for £11m in midweek. With Claudio Pizarro linked with Panathinaikos, it seems Scolari is separating the wheat from the chaff.

Andriy Shevchenko is being linked with a season-long loan switch to Sampdoria if an agreement can be reached over his wages, while the Sunday People reports that Scolari could make a move for yet another Portugal international, midfielder Joao Moutinho. Moutinho was linked with Arsenal during Euro 2008. It’s hard to keep up.

Finally, Steve Sidwell ended his brief Chelsea career this past week when he joined Aston Villa in a deal worth around £5.5m. Sidwell spent one season at the Bridge having joined from Reading on a free transfer in May 2007. He started 13 games with a further 12 sub appearances and was used in all four competitions. Michael Ballack’s return to fitness after Christmas meant his opportunities were limited. I’m sure we all wish him well as he tries to fill Gareth Barry’s boots at Villa Park.