Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez has offered no guarantees that Frank Lampard will see out the season at Stamford Bridge.
The experienced midfielder has already revealed that no discussions have been held regarding an extension to his current contract with Chelsea, which is due to expire in the summer.
Benitez has also hinted that Lampard’s future lies away from west London, with Chelsea prepared to part with senior stars and turn one eye to the future.
The Spaniard has offered no indication that the Blues will be altering that stance any time soon, with the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Monaco and LA Galaxy strongly linked with the 34-year-old as a result.
It has even been suggested that Lampard could head for the exits in January and Benitez, while full of praise for the England international’s dedication to the cause, has refused to rule out a winter deal.
Asked if Lampard could be on the move in the New Year, Benitez said: “The future of players is always the same. I can’t say too much.
“He is fully committed to every training session and every game.
“He is an important player for us but I can’t say too much about how he feels. I’m happy with his attitude.”
Meanwhile, Benitez insists he is willing to shake hands with Leeds United boss Neil Warnock at this week’s League Cup quarter-final in a bid to end their simmering feud.
Benitez has clashed with Warnock on several occasions in the past, with the most high-profile incident coming in 2007 when the Spaniard sent out a weakened Liverpool team against Fulham.
Fulham went on to beat Liverpool and in the process pushed Sheffield United, then managed by Warnock, closer to eventual relegation from the Premier League.
Warnock said he would “never forgive” Benitez and he poured more fuel on the fire this week when he revealed the pair’s last contact came shortly after that incident when he received an email from the Spaniard’s lawyers warning of possible legal action were he to continue to criticise their client.
Asked if he would shake hands with Warnock ahead of the match, Benitez said: “I’m professional so will do my job. I’m professional, I will behave.”
Warnock also seems keen to move on, although he stopped short of agreeing to a pre-match handshake.
“Enough water’s passed under the bridge,” Warnock said. “It’s one of those things that disappoints you in life and you have to get on with it really.
“You get disappointments in every walk of life and I’ve made my feelings clear over the last few years – and nothing will change that.
“I think it had his name on, I think it was his solicitor (lawyer) who was threatening legal action and I’ve got it in a scrapbook at home.”
by Terence Johns