May 18 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Harry Redknapp is convinced that Frank Lampard will still be a Chelsea player next season.
The manager takes his struggling QPR side to face their bitter west London rivals tomorrow after the midfielder struck twice to sink Everton on Sunday.
Lampard’s contract runs out in the summer and the Blues are yet to offer him a new deal, with some reports suggesting he could leave now that the transfer window has opened.
But Redknapp, who managed him at West Ham, thinks otherwise.
“I can’t see him leaving,” said the 65-year-old, adding: “I’d be surprised if he left Chelsea. I don’t know because I haven’t discussed it with Frank but I’d be surprised if he left Chelsea.
“His heart’s at Chelsea, the fans absolutely idolise him and he’s still a top player.
“[He got] two goals again at Everton the other day. [He’s an] amazing goalscoring midfield player.
“I still think there’s every chance that he’ll be at Chelsea next year.”
Lampard is the Blues’ highest top flight goalscorer and his double against the Toffees, he is closing in on the club’s all-time record marksman Bobby Tambling.
Redknapp stopped short of saying he was the Stamford Bridge club’s best ever player but said he’d be on the list.
“That would be difficult, I wouldn’t be able to say. They’ve had some great players over the years.
“[There’s] Peter Osgood and so many players you can go back to. You can go through a list of incredible players [like Gianfranco] Zola.
“Most top clubs have had great players and they’ve certainly had their share, but Frank would be right up there with the best, without a doubt.”
After three festive defeats on the spin, the fixtures do not get any easier for Rangers with the trip to Chelsea the first of back-to-back London derbies. The Blues are pushing for the title while Rangers are rooted to the foot of the Premier League table, eight points from safety.
“You look at the fixtures and they’re pretty daunting,” Redknapp said, adding: “Chelsea are in great form at the moment and playing very well.
“Rafa [Benitez – interim manager] has gone in there, they’ve got fantastic players and he’ll do a good job there.
“He’s a top manager and people criticise [him] but when you look at his record he’s top class.
“He’s taken over an outstanding group of players. They won the Champions League last year so you’re talking about one of the best groups of players in Europe, without a doubt.
“They’ve brought players in like [Eden] Hazard, Oscar and still have that fantastic backbone with people like Frank [Lampard], Ashley Cole and John Terry’s who’s still got to come back [from injury], so they’re full of quality.
“They would still have a chance of winning the championship this year – you wouldn’t write them off.”
But Redknapp is not giving up hope of upsetting the form book.
He said: “It’s a London derby, a massive game, let’s see if we can pull off a shock.
“If we don’t we’ll move on to the next one and a nice easy one against Tottenham. Every game is difficult.
“A little run of one or two wins can make a difference, so we’ll keep going.”