Inter Milan have urged Frank Lampard to forget his loyalty towards Chelsea – or the Italian club will be forced to move for alternative targets.
Inter president Massimo Moratti says Lampard’s “sense of duty” has prevented him from demanding a move, despite contract talks with Blues chiefs stalling.
Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is desperate to take his former protégé to Inter, and has had two bids for the 30-year-old rejected. But Moratti wants Lampard to ask for a transfer – a move that would make it difficult for the west London club to reject further offers.
“In the end it is up to him to find a solution,” said Moratti. “Lampard is a very serious lad and certainly he is torn between having the pleasure of something new or having a sense of duty towards his current club.”
Mourinho has indicated he is prepared to be patient, but Moratti warned that Inter had other transfer targets lined up, should Lampard’s future continue to be unresolved. “Lampard is the priority but naturally in cases like this I have been looking around for some time,” he said. “If it is not possible to take Lampard, we would take a player with the most similar characteristics.”
Uncertainty over Lampard’s future has cast a shadow over the club’s preseason, and reports have claimed talks were planned before Chelsea’s imminent tour of Asia in an attempt to break the deadlock.
Lampard is said to want a five-year, £140,000-per-week contract to commit his future to Chelsea, but Blues owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly unwilling to improve the fouryear deal currently on the table.