Lampard uncertain over Chelsea future

15 August 2012 15:55

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard says he is still waiting for contract talks to begin as he enters the final year of his current deal.

The 34-year-old has admitted he is not sure where his future lies but has expressed his desire to remain with the Blues for the rest of his playing days.

Lampard says he was told discussions would kick-off when he returned for the 2012/13 campaign but acknowledged that he was still waiting for the club to make their move.

“We spoke once last season and it was a case of coming back – and it hasn’t come back from their end,” Lampard told reporters. “I don’t know (what will happen).

“At the minute I’m just playing. I’d like to sit down and speak with them. But at the minute I’m playing and it’s up to the club to do that.

“I would like to end my career there. I feel I can play at the top level for a good few more years, but it’s whether the club feels the same.”

Chelsea are in the process of rebuilding their squad, with young stars Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin brought in during the pre-season.

At 34, Lampard is one of the survivors of the club’s previous English Premier League-winning team and believes he can still play at the top level.

“I know there are a lot of changes at Chelsea,” Lampard said. “I’d love to be involved, and the youth coming into the squad this year has really freshened up our team.

“I’d love to carry on but it’s a club decision to come and sit down with me. They used to sit down with me three years before the end of my contract. Now I’m waiting.

“People do look at you differently when you get the other side of 30. That’s natural. I don’t mind that at all.

“I want to keep myself as fit as possible, to live right, and keep my edge so I know I can keep competing at the top.

“That’s what drives me on. If I don’t feel I can do it, I wouldn’t be happy playing football anyway.”

Bender ready for Messi challenge

15 August 2012 15:37

Germany midfielder Lars Bender is eagerly anticipating Wednesday’s international friendly against Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder previously took on the Barcelona star in last year’s Champions League, when the Argentine netted a stunning five goals in one game.

Nevertheless, despite the memory of Messi’s impressive performance last term, the gifted forward will not be the only player Bender will be keeping a close eye on.

“Of course, I am really looking forward to this game,” Bender told the DFB website.

“But not just because we will be facing Messi. He has the ability to single-handedly decide games and has extraordinary qualities.

“However, he is only one component of a very strong team. A match against Argentina is something very special. They have a big reputation and a lot of quality in their squad.

“They have some outstanding individuals such as Messi, (Gonzalo) Higuain and (Angel) Di Maria. They struggled a bit at the 2010 World Cup, but they are back now.”

West Ham prepare fresh Jarvis bid

15 August 2012 15:27

West Ham will make another bid to sign Matt Jarvis after having an offer rejected by Wolves, according to reports.

The Hammers’ 10 million-pound offer for the left winger was turned down last week because they were only prepared to pay 5.5 million up front, with the rest made up in add-ons.

Wolves value the 26-year-old at 10 million pounds but want all of the money to be paid up front in a single instalment, has learned.

Jarvis, who has made one appearance for England, responded by handing in a transfer request to force through a move to West Ham.

Manager Sam Allardyce is keen to bring greater potency to his left flank and will sanction another bid for Jarvis.

Sources have told that the newly promoted Premier League club will offer 10 million pounds in a restructured deal, with most of the money to be paid up front this time.

West Ham have been encouraged by Jarvis’ desire to move to east London.

Intriguingly, he is also represented by Mark Curtis, the same agent as Allardyce and Kevin Nolan, although this was not decisive in the club’s failed swoop for Andy Carroll.

Lille unveil new stadium

15 August 2012 14:22

In a bold move to rival Paris Saint-Germain’s big spending, Lille have unveiled their new 282 million-euro stadium for the new season.

While title favourites PSG have splurged on the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lille played their trump card, unveiling the 50,000-capacity Grand Stade Lille Metropole.

After eight years in a temporary venue, Lille will now play in the cosy confines of France’s first stadium with a retractable roof for the first time against Nancy on Friday.

With Champions League football guaranteed this season, Lille head coach Rudi Garcia said his squad already felt at home at the new venue.

“Weirdly, we feel already at home” Garcia said.

“I say weirdly because otherwise it would feel more like the day before a European game played away, because we could have the feeling that it’s not home.

“We have been here several times, three times at least, and it helps get accustomed to the place. We know how it’s going to be on Friday as we are used to the new stadium already.”

Though the 2010/11 champions have lost their star man Eden Hazard to Chelsea and struggled to fill the smaller Stade Lille, chairman Michel Seydoux said it was a huge step toward the club becoming one of Ligue 1’s powerhouses.

“I think that the appeal of Lille will start to grow,” Seydoux said.

“Some said ‘you don’t fill the Stade Lille, you’ll never fill the Grand Stade’ but today we have 30,000 season ticket holders, so a big thanks to them. I hope that we’ll fulfil their expectations.

“We want to catch up with the big French clubs.

“Then, it’s you (the journalists) who will decide where we are in the French hierarchy.

“I think that having this stadium is an important step for us.”

Ramsey: No problem with Shawcross

15 August 2012 13:03

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey says he would have no problem playing with Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross, who broke his leg in 2010.

Wales boss Chris Coleman is trying to persuade former England Under-21 centre-back Shawcross – who spent time in Wales as a youngster – to switch allegiances, meaning the pair could soon be team-mates.

In February 2010, the Stoke man inflicted a double-fracture on Ramsey, which put him out of football for a year, and Coleman said he has talked with Ramsey about the possibility of selecting Shawcross.

And the 21-year-old Gunner insisted there would be no problem.

“There’s no situation,” Ramsey told reporters. “It’s up to the manager what he feels is the right thing to do for the team. It’s his decision.

“I just turn up and play. I’m over what happened in the past, I’ve moved on. I had a text off him straight after I done my leg but that was it.”

Coleman admits selecting Shawcross could be awkward for the team, but ultimately his goal is to try and get Wales to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and the Stoke defender would add quality to the side.

“The bottom line is we want to go to Brazil and how we will do that is to get the best players we can,” Coleman said. “He’s a Premier League centre-back.

“I think there is an issue but the conversation I had with Rambo (Ramsey) was very positive.

“They don’t have to be best friends; the best dressing room I ever played in, there was an edge and you don’t want everybody to be comfortable and all nice with each other.

“What matters is they play together for the team and respect each other as players.”