Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deal Debate Won't Rile Chelsea Stars

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deal Debate Won't Rile Chelsea Stars

Article excerpt

Byline: By Adrian Curtis

Chelsea stars John Terry and Frank Lampard are determined to ensure their contract problems do not overshadow the club's fight for more success this season.

Captain Terry and England midfielder Lampard are trying to negotiate long-term extensions to their current contracts and want their respective situations resolved as soon as possible.

The club have yet to make a formal offer to Lampard while Terry is unhappy with the length of the contract put on the table by the club.

Talks have been dragging on for months and the delay has sparked fresh speculation that they could quit the club in the summer.

Chelsea's Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien on Monday signed a new five-year extension worth around pounds 90,000-a-week to the African player and Lampard is keen to ensure that the loyalty shown to the club by him and Terry is not taken for granted.

Lampard said: "If there are any two players who have got the best interests of this club in their hearts it is me and John. The club know that.

"The contract situation is not a distraction and it is important it doesn't get talked about too much. Me and John don't like to see it and nor do the fans."

However, both players are now reaching the final two years of their Stamford Bridge deals and want to stay. But they want pay parity with top earners Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko ( both earning around pounds 130,000 a week.

Lampard, 28, may well be in a position to buy himself out of the club in the summer under Fifa rules. But Terry cannot do the same and the Blues captain, fit again after the head injury he sustained against in the Carling Cup final against Arsenal, is unhappy with Chelsea's decision to reduce the length of their offer from nine years to five.

Chelsea's injury problems continue to dog their season and the latest blow occurred on the training pitch when Shevchenko limped out of action towards the end of yesterday's session.

The Ukrainian captain appeared to hurt his left ankle as a result of a tackle and immediately left the session for treatment. …

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