Monday, July 7, 2008

Inter Fax Chelsea Final Efforts For Lampard

Negotiations to take the Blues midfielder to Inter are at a turning point: a trip to London is imminent. And this week the offer for Roma's Mancini will go up to 12 million euros.

MILAN, 7 July 2008 - Yesterday Inter sent a fax to Chelsea requesting a meeting to negotiate the purchase of Frank Lampard. It was to be expected, but this is a decisive step since this is the first official move in the long talks focused on the 30 year old English midfielder. In fact up until yesterday Inter's Branca and Oriali have been seeking agreement with the player's agent, Steve Kutner, while Mourinho has been talking to Lampard himself, after three seasons as his manager in London. Today Branca is expected in the English capital.

TURNAROUND - It's no surprise that Inter made their move over the weekend: Chelsea's pre-season training begins today. Inter want to assist Lampard in what will be a difficult stage for him: explaining to the club that after seven years in which he has both given and received a great deal, he wants to join Mourinho in Milan. It's one thing to turn down the generous contract renewal offer of €8.5 million a season (his current deal expires in 2009), it's another matter to explain to the Blues' directors that today they may have to cash in on a player who otherwise could leave for nothing next year. Inter are ready to pay €10 million to the club, though the bulk of the cost will be the player's wages: a four year deal has already been agreed for €7.5 million (net) per season. Ultimately, the deal is on, despite the last-ditch efforts by Deco. Denying that his arrival will push Lampard towards Milan, the Portuguese player yesterday claimed: "I think I can be compatible with Lampard on the pitch. It will be for Scolari to decide, but I've watched a lot of Chelsea games on TV and together Frank and I can create a lot of danger for other teams." But perhaps for Chelsea themselves too, since they need to fit in Ballack, and a tackling midfielder wouldn't hurt...

MANCINI DEAL CLOSE - This week Inter could pull off a double transfer coup. By Tuesday it is expected that there will be a meeting with Roma for Mancini, whose agent Gilmar Veloz is expected in Italy by the weekend. On Friday, Roma reiterated that they are only interested in a cash deal but lowered their demands from 15 to 13 million euros. Inter offered 10 and could reach 12, so an agreement is not far off. Not least since without this cash, the giallorossi can't operate on the transfer market.

QUARESMA UNLIKELY - The prospect of Ricardo Quaresma seems ever less likely. As if the difference between demand (€30 million plus Pelè) and offer (€20 million) weren't enough, yesterday Porto President Pinto da Costa denied the story, despite the meeting which took place, under pressure from fans, saying that "I haven't received any official offer for Quaresma. Nor has he asked to leave."

TIME TO SELL - Branca and Oriali must also work on outgoing players. Costs must be recouped, but the squad must also be reduced to the 24 players requested by Mourinho. With Lampard, Mancini and Obinna (agreement with Chievo is expected this week) added there would be 28. Burdisso (who Inter have banned from taking part in the Olimpics), Stankovic and one of Crespo or Suazo may leave. But there are rumours that Adriano could go to Chelsea in exchange for Drogba. Another of Mourinho's favourites.

Text Source: By LUCA TAIDELLI,

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