Di Matteo urges Chelsea hierarchy to offer veterans Cole and Lampard new contracts
Roberto Di Matteo has urged the Chelsea hierarchy to extend the careers at Stamford Bridge of Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, who will be able to sign pre-contract agreements with foreign clubs at the turn of the year.
The England pair will have entered the final six months of their current deals with the European champions when the transfer window reopens in six weeks, with each attracting interest from abroad. An official at the Chinese club Guizhou Renhe claimed this week that they had made contact with Lampard and his representatives and were keen to secure the player, perhaps as early as in January, while Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of reuniting Cole with Carlo Ancelotti at Parc des Princes.
No progress has been made to date in talks between Chelsea and the two players and it remains to be seen whether the length of any deal offered by a club continually seeking to reinvigorate its squad would be acceptable. “I think, for my part, I’m doing everything I can but ultimately it’s between the player and the club to agree a new deal,” said Di Matteo. “I have [told the club I want them to stay]. I’m not aware of where they are right now [in terms of the talks]. The players know I would like them to stay.” The process of regeneration is likely to continue in January with strong interest retained in the Atletico Madrid forward Radamel Falcao, whose hat-trick so scarred Chelsea in the SuperCup defeat by Atletico Madrid in August. The Colombian will be courted by a number of sides. “Falcao is one of the best strikers, probably, in European and world football,” Di Matteo said. “His ratio of goals per game is quite impressive. Not just this season but over the last three years, at Porto and Atletico Madrid.”
Lampard will miss today’s awkward trip to West Bromwich Albion with a calf complaint. Though John Terry is also absent, he may miss only three weeks after straining the medial ligaments in his right knee against Liverpool on Sunday. Cole is available again after a hamstring injury as Chelsea return to the venue where they lost 1-0 in March, a result that led to Andre Villas-Boas’s dismissal 24 hours later.