A round-up of news and view relating to Chelsea over the past 24 hours.
After months of uncertainty, Frank Lampard has signed a new one year contract at Chelsea. Lampard became the club’s record goal scorer at the weekend against Aston Villa, and had looked set to leave Stamford Bridge this summer with the Blues seemingly unwilling to extend his contract. Lampard has admitted he considered other options during the past few months.
Lampard has hailed Branislav Ivanovic after the defender’s injury time header won Chelsea the Europa League final against Benfica in Amsterdam last night. After Ivanovic missed out on the Champions League final through suspension last season, Lampard said the Serbian deserved the success more than anyone. Ivanovic was also congratulated by his compatriot Novak Djokovic.
Several players have praised the impact of Benitez in steering the Blues to their second European trophy in two years, and Gary Cahill has said that the Spaniard deserves credit for his spell in charge of the club.
Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has said that he believes his side would have been worthy winners of the Europa League, claiming that they were the better side over the course of the match. It was Benfica’s second heart-breaking late loss in a week, after Porto likely secured the Portuguese league by beating them 2-1 at the weekend.
Fernando Torres, who scored the opening goal in Amsterdam, believes he is finally getting back to his best form. Although the striker has not scored a league goal since December, he has managed to net 21 times in all competitions this season.
Rafa Benitez has said that he believes Chelsea will make a statement to their rivals by spending £100million on new players this summer. Despite winning the Europa League, Roman Abramovich is apparently concerned about Chelsea’s failure to compete in the Premier League, and will reinforce his squad accordingly.
One player Chelsea are reportedly keen on is Fiorentina midfielder Adem Ljajic. Ljajic has had a fine season in Serie A, and could be allowed to leave this summer as his contract expires in 2014.
Another Serie A player who could be on there way to Stamford Bridge is Daniele De Rossi, who has been linked with a £10million move to England.
West Ham have reportedly joined Swansea in expressing an interest in taking Romelu Lukaku on loan next season. The Belgian forward has had an excellent season at West Brom, and might be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge next year as well with Chelsea likely to invest in another striker this summer.
Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard have all been included in Roy Hodgson’s latest England squad ahead of upcoming friendlies with Republic of Ireland at Wembley and Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.
image: © Ben Sutherland