|CHELSEA CONFRIM NEW FRANK LAMPARD DEAL
SportingPreview.com: 5 March 2013
Chelsea have done a u-turn on the Frank Lampard situation and admitted they are in continued discussions with the midfielder over the extension of his current deal.
The England star is out of contract at the end of season and has offers from Europe and the MLS to consider, while weighing up the terms from Chelsea.
Chelsea CEO Ron Gourlay told Sportsmail that the club are in talks with Lampard, who is is one goal away from scoring his 200th goal for Chelsea and needs just three more goals to pull level with Bobby Tambling on 202 goals to become their leading all-time scorer.
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Speaking in Bangkok to promote the club's summer tour of the Far East, he said: "Discussions are ongoing and must be kept confidential at this stage."
Although not as influential during matches as at his peak, Lampard is a significant goal threat and a shining example to younger members of the squad.
Former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins had urged the club to offer the 34-year-old a new deal.
"Frank has to stay. I can't see why this situation is happening," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"He has done more than a job for Chelsea this season and will continue to do so with his fitness level and enthusiasm for the game."
Lampard signed for Chelsea in 2001 and has been a mainstay of the team since, an essential part of the most successful Blues side in history.
The saga over his contract has dragged on all season, along with that of Ashley Cole - although the England left back was offered a new deal and has signed a one-year extension.
Gourlay, who had arrived on Monday afternoon after departing from London, now flies onto Kuala Lumpur for Wednesday's press launch, and then will fly to Indonesia before returning to London on Friday.
He told Thai media that Chelsea will camp in the capital city for their summer training, arriving in Bangkok on July 11.
They will stay until the friendly with local Singha Selection XI at Rajamangala Stadium on July 17.
Gourlay also spoke about the club's aims for the rest of the season.
He said: "It was the club's plan to have Benitez as interim manager with the aim of securing a Champions League position at the end of the season. We'll assess the situation then."
Gourlay added: "We can still win the Europa League and FA Cup, but make no mistake, our priority lies with a Champions League spot."
The club fly out to Romania for their Europa League fixture against Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday morning, with the match taking place on Thursday night.
Benitez will be tempted to rest players ahead of their FA Cup quarter-final clash with Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
Ron Gourlay and Ray Wilkins were quoted in Sportsmail.
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