Frank Lampard will end career at Chelsea, City tired of Hazard
Chelsea offer £25,000-a-week pay rise, but are Arsenal really back in the hunt for Hazard?
FRANK LAMPARD won't be following Didier Drogba out of the door at Stamford Bridge and will "finish his career at Chelsea", the Daily Mail exclusively reports. The 33-year-old England midfielder will be offered a new deal this summer.
Apparently chief executive Ron Gourlay will ask Lampard, Michael Essien and Florent Malouda to sign long-term deals and Lampard is expected to receive a £25,000-a-week increase in his wages to put him level with the likes of Fernando Torres on £175,000-a-week.
But the Mail claims that two of the Champions League-winning team, Jose Bosingwa and Salomon Kalou, will be told today that their contracts will not be extended by the Blues.
Meanwhile The Sun says that Drogba may not be going to China after all but could be tempted by a two-year deal with Italian club Juventus. The money is frankly insulting for a player of Drogba's acting ability - just £80,000-a-week - but the Sun says the big Ivorian may accept because of the chance to play top-flight football.
As Belgian tease Eden Hazard keeps his Premier League suitors waiting, Manchester City have decided that they too can play hard-to-get and have turned their backs on the preening midfielder. Instead they intend to spend the money they had set aside for the Lille star on Spanish defender Javi Martinez instead.
According to the Daily Mail, City will send scouts to check out Martinez as he plays for Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Cup final against Barcelona. The defender, who has seven internaitonal caps, and can also play in midfield, has been identified as a partner for Vincent Kompany in the City back four. He would cost around £25m but Roberto Mancini will face competition from traditional rivals Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Talking of Hazard, and the prospect of having fewer than three teams buzzing around him has obviously too much for the attention-seeking Belgian to handle, which might explain why the Daily Star has rekindled the long dead romance between him and Arsenal.
It asserts that Lille director Frederic Paquet says that there are four clubs interested in signing the 21-year-old show pony. If that seems far-fetched, what comes next is astonishing. The paper then claims that Arsene Wenger has literally just remembered that he has £30m knocking around in his coffers, which had been earmarked for Mario Gotze but was never used. He apparently intends to put his windfall to good use by purchasing the midfielder.
Fortunately for Arsenal fans it all sounds about as likely as Hazard turning out to be worth all the fuss.
At the risk of being labelled "muttering idiots" by David Cameron we can report today that Marseille striker Loic Remy may not be joining Tottenham Hotspur after all.
The flashy French frontman had been linked with a £20m move to White Hart Lane in the summer but now the London Evening Standard reports that Manchester City fancy a bit of the action. The news is sure to go down as well at Tottenham as Alain de Botton's latest brainwave after boss Harry Redknapp set his heart on snaring the 25-year-old Remy.
The Standard claims the Premier League champions "are weighing up an offer for the Frenchman" and are privately confident of getting their man. Remy has been mooted as a target for AC Milan in recent weeks but apparently he's champing at the bit to test himself in England where the wages are also much higher than in the cash-strapped Serie A. The Standard says that if the Lilywhites lose out to City over Remy it would be a "huge blow" to the club. The striker scored 22 goals in 47 games for Marseille last season and talks had been progressing "positively" before City stuck in their oar.
Meanwhile, it's not just Damien Hirst that has come in for criticism of late; so have rumours linking AC Milan star Thiago Silva to Manchester City. The gossip began earlier in the week with reports from Italy suggesting the Sky Blues were chasing the 27-year-old defender and were considering a part exchange with either Carlos Tevez or Mario Balotelli.
The rumours were fuelled when Mancini was seen in the company of Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani and some of the more irresponsible papers declared a £40m offer was on its way from the Etihad. Not so, stormed Mancini, who is quoted in the Metro declaring he had met Galliani for ten minutes "and I certainly didn't make an offer for Thiago Silva. Even less did I offer Balotelli or Tevez to Milan."
In a further reinforcement of Mancini's comments, Silva's agent Paulo Tonietto said neither he nor his client "have had contacts with Manchester City or Barcelona. His preference is certainly Milan".
Elsewhere and West Ham co-chairman David Gold has played down speculation the club is courting Joe Cole. Though he admitted he was a fan of the 30-year-old midfielder (who began his career at the Hammers), Gold told Talksport the chances of West Ham buying him from Liverpool were slight.
"Joe Cole moving to West Ham would be a fantastic and romantic thing to happen but I would be very, very surprised," said Gold, adding: "He didn't come up on [manager] Sam Allardyce's list of players he wants to sign a couple of months ago. Whether that's still the case, only time will tell."
Cole has spent the last season on loan with French club Lille but is said to be angling for a return to the Premier League with a club other than Liverpool. ·