Chelsea tell Frank Lampard he can leave club - but not to Prem rival
Chelsea have told Frank Lampard they will not allow him to join a Premier League rival – but that he is free to move abroad.
And that has alerted Paris St Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is desperate to sign a top-class midfielder in the January transfer window after the collapse of his club’s move for David Beckham.
People Sport can reveal that Manchester United did make an enquiry to Chelsea about Lampard’s availability on Thursday – but the question was met with a flat ‘No’.
But after the breakdown of his relationship with manager Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea are willing to release Lampard, who still has 18 months to run on his contract, on a free transfer abroad to get his £150,000-a-week salary off the wage bill.
The 33-year-old England star has nointerest in moving to Major League Soccer despite interest from LA Galaxy, but a switch to Paris could tempt him as the French capital has close travel links with London, where his children live.
His close pal Joe Cole is already playing in France’s Ligue One with Lille on a year’s loan, and Qatar-backed PSG are one of the few clubs who could match his Chelsea wages.
Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has told Chelsea’s top brass he wants to be reunited with his former Porto hitman Falcao this summer. People Sport
understands he discussed new recruits for this transfer window and the next one with Stamford Bridge officials last week. And Colombian striker Falcao, who has hit nine goals in 13 games for Atletico Madrid this campaign, is his top end-of-season target.
Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain and Napoli’s Edinson Cavani are also on the radar as Chelsea prepare for life after Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
Villas-Boas has started breaking up Chelsea’s ageing squad, with Anelka joining Shanghai Shenhua, Brazilian defender Alex a target for QPR and Drogba set to depart in the summer when his contract expires. Chelsea are also interested in Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez.