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Lampard signs new five-year contract with Chelsea

SoccerNews in English Premier League 13 Aug 2008

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Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard ended speculation about his future by signing a new five-year contract with the Premier League club on Wednesday.

Lampard, 30, had been repeatedly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge during the last year, but he finally agreed to stay just four days before Chelsea’s Premier League opener against Portsmouth.

“We’ve signed my new contract today (Wednesday),” Lampard told Chelsea TV. “I’m personally very happy and I hope I’ve made the Chelsea fans happy. I’ve had seven great seasons here and now I can have many more.

“It’s been a difficult summer for many reasons and that was one of the frustrating things, a lot of things were said that were untrue, some things were said that were slightly true and that was frustrating. Now we can put that to bed and concentrate on football.”

The England star had been negotiating a new contract since last season, with Chelsea offering a four-year deal and Lampard holding out for an extra year.

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, now in charge at Inter Milan, tried to take advantage of the stalemate during the close-season when he made an offer for Lampard.

Chelsea rejected Inter’s bid but they were aware Lampard would have been out of contract at the end of this season and could walk away on a free transfer.

The Blues have avoided that scenario by agreeing to Lampard’s demands and the former West Ham player, who is now contracted until 2014, should finish his career in west London.

Lampard, who cost Chelsea 11 million pounds (13.7 million euros) from the Hammers in June 2001, thanked the club for giving him time to decide on his future following the death of his mother last season.

“My world got turned upside down and I don’t think it is anything anyone appreciates until you go through it,” Lampard said. “The club gave me time and I appreciate that.

“I feel for sure I’ve made 100 percent the right decision, for myself, for my family and for Chelsea Football Club.

“This has always been a very important contract for me, I’ve just turned 30 and I see it as my final big contract to see my playing days out at Chelsea.”

Blues manager Luiz Felipe Scolari believes the dynamic midfielder’s decision bodes well for Chelsea’s bid to overhaul Premier League champions Manchester United.

“I am delighted that Frank has committed his future to the club,” Scolari said. “He is a key player for me and vital to Chelsea’s future successes.

“Frank is one of the best professionals I have worked with. Everyday he tries to learn something and bring new elements to his game.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon explained the contract talks had taken time because it was a major decision for Lampard.

“These are big issues for the club, for Frank and any other player,” Kenyon said.

“Whatever has gone on I think there is that underlying desire that we get there. It’s taken both Frank and the club longer than we originally thought.

“It allows us to kill all the speculation of the last 18 months and allows us to concentrate on the really important thing – next season.”

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