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Friday August 15, 2008

Lamps signs mega deal

Chelsea ace is highest-paid player in the EPL

LONDON: Chelsea have made Frank Lampard the Premier League’s highest-paid player with an incredible £39.2mil contract.

The Blues’ have given Lampard a £151,000-a-week, five-year deal.

Lampard, 30, will stay at Stamford Bridge under new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari following several months of stalled talks and speculation of a move to Inter Milan.

Lampard had been tipped to join former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho at Inter after the Portuguese coach said the midfielder was the best professional he had worked with in his career.

Sealed: Frank Lampard shaking hands with Peter Kenyon during a news conference after signing a new five-year deal with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. – Reuters

“Personal reasons were very important for me to make sure I make the right decision I needed to make for myself and for my family,” Lampard told a news conference.

“I realised how happy I am at the club and with my team-mates.”

Inter president Massimo Moratti said last month that Lampard, capped 61 times for England, wanted to join the Italian champions but Chelsea were not willing to negotiate his departure.

“It has taken a while to get the deal done and there has been a bit of compromise on both sides,” Lampard said.

“I’ve just turned 30 and I see it as my final big contract, and I will play out my days at Chelsea. Hopefully these will be the best five years of my career.”

Lampard said the message his deal sent out was that Chelsea were serious title contenders.

“For the past few years we have been challenging for everything. That is one of the reasons I wanted to stay.”

Lampard said he was encouraged by team captain John Terry and new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari’s vision for the team after a disappointing season without any silverware.

“I had a chat with Scolari, he said he wanted me to be at the club, he told me what he wanted for the club and he spoke very passionately about it,” Lampard said.

“We are strong as we have ever been going into this season, We have not won the title for two years, we didn’t win anything last year and that is quite a nice setting to have.”

“A disappointing year sometimes remind you of exactly what you want, we are all feeling the same way, we have a chance of not only winning domestically but also winning in Europe.”

Kenyon later said that Chelsea would not start contract talks with Didier Drogba and Joe Cole until next year.

Drogba and Cole have two years left on their current contracts and the club's policy is to concentrate on football rather than negotiations when the season gets started.

“Both those contracts and discussions have been put on the shelf,” Kenyon said. “The season is starting and those will be re-visited next year.” – Agencies

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