Lampard ‘in talks’ with Chinese club
BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
Frank Lampard of England scores his goal from the penalty spot during the 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Ukraine at Wembley on Sept 11. AFP PhotoChelsea star Frank Lampard could be a step closer to following former teammates Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka with a move to China, after Guizhou Renhe confirmed yesterday the club was in talks with him.
The England international midfielder has been linked since March with a move to the Chinese Super League.
But speculation intensified after Renhe chairman Dai Yongge was quoted in the domestic press on Saturday as saying that Lampard had signed.
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo played down the reports after his side’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday. But a Renhe official confirmed in a brief statement to AFP that talks with Lampard were underway.
“Yes, we are in contact with Lampard but so far nothing has been settled,” said deputy board chairman Yang Xiaoyu.
Dai was quoted by the state-run China Daily as saying Lampard would join Renhe as captain in January. A winter arrival would give the 34-year-old time to settle in before the 2013-14 Chinese Super League season begins in March.
High-flying Renhe qualified for its first AFC Champions League competition with a fourth-place finish in the league, which ended last week.
The club is based in Guiyang in the southwestern province of Guizhou. It is bankrolled by Dai, who is boss of underground shopping center developer Renhe Commercial Holdings Company.
China has become an attractive destination for football stars approaching the end of their careers.
Ivory Coast striker Drogba and former France international Anelka play for Shanghai Shenhua on contracts said to be worth $300,000 a week.
Lampard, who is currently injured with a calf problem, would be in line for an even bigger payday, reports in the British press have claimed.