Scolari says Lampard to stay at Chelsea
COBHAM (Reuters) - New Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said on Tuesday that Frank Lampard would remain at the club for this season and beyond, underlining their refusal to consider any offers for the midfielder.
Speaking at his first news conference since taking charge, Scolari said he had received assurances that Lampard was still committed to the club, adding that Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba, was "200 percent" in his plans for the new season.
Lampard and Drogba have been the subject of intense speculation that they would move to Italy to link up with former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, who has taken over at Inter Milan.
"I think Chelsea needs Lampard and Lampard needs Chelsea," the former Brazil and Portugal coach told a packed news conference at a hotel near the Premier League's club's training ground outside London.
"I met Frank Lampard yesterday and I told him that I liked him very much as a player and as a person.
"I asked him if he wanted to stay in Chelsea not only next year but longer and after 15 minutes he said to me he wanted to stay and he wanted to be a player for Chelsea (for) more years.
"There are a minimum of questions still to be asked and then I think Lampard is with us (for) more time than one year."
On Drogba, Scolari said that at the first training session on Monday "I saw him happy and happy to start training." Asked if the big striker was part of his plans, the Brazilian world cup winner said: "100 percent, 200 percent."
Lampard is entering the final year of his contract and Chelsea told Inter Milan in a statement earlier on Tuesday that they were not prepared to enter into any discussions for the 30-year-old.
The Stamford Bridge club confirmed they had received an approach from the Italian champions but denied media reports that an offer had been made for Lampard.
The Sun newspaper reported on Monday that Inter had faxed a bid of 6.5 million pounds for the former West Ham United player.
The Chelsea statement said: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm it has received an official approach from Internazionale to discuss the possible transfer of Frank Lampard. Contrary to reports no financial offer was made.
"Chelsea FC has informed Inter this morning that we will not enter into any discussions regarding the transfer of Frank Lampard."
Inter refuted Chelsea's statement that an offer had not been made.
"This is not true," Inter president Massimo Moratti told reporters. "There's an offer and we confirm it. However, we don't want to create any big problems."
The Serie A champions have made no secret of their desire to sign Lampard, who flourished under Mourinho's tutelage during the Portuguese manager's three years at Chelsea.
"They replied that they have no intention of negotiating, as was their right," Moratti added. "Am I optimistic? We will see."
(Additional reporting by Mark Meadows in Milan and Simon Hart, editing by Padraic Halpin)
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