Lampard rejects new Chelsea contract: report


London : Frank Lampard's future with Chelsea has been thrown into doubt after he rejected a new contract offer, according to reports.

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The News of the World tabloid claimed that the England midfielder turned down the offer to become the Londo club's highest-paid player in their history.

The newspaper said the deal would have seen Lampard pocket more than the 121,000 pounds a week enjoyed by Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko, as the midfielder has the right to buy out his contract thanks to new FIFA rules.

With European giants Juventus and Barcelona circling, a 15-million pound price tag will not hinder any potential deal.

Former Italian Serie A champions Juventus, now managed by former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri, has made its interest known, but Barcelona, who narrowly missed out on the Spanish league title two weeks ago, is still the favourite to land the England star.

Indeed, some reports have claimed that Portugal star Deco would be used as bait to lure Lampard to Nou Camp, as the Barcelona stadium is known.

Lampard admitted last week he would have liked if the club had offered a deal earlier.

"They don't have to offer me anything so I'll just carry on," Lampard said. "In an ideal world, it would have happened three weeks ago but it is not an ideal world.

"It feels strange. It is something I am trying to keep my mind off. You get on with it. I am not surprised by it because nothing surprises you in football."