GALAXY: An offer for Lampard?
July, 2, 2012
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
CARSON -- British reports claim the Galaxy has offered Chelsea's Frank Lampard a two-year, $20 million offer, and that the veteran central midfielder is strongly considering a move to Los Angeles.
It's not the first time Lampard's name has been linked to the Galaxy, but the reports have never been so specific.
Several outlets made the claim, none identifying their sources, but David Beckham lobbied his former England teammate last year and club owner AEG president Tim Leiweke has publicly expressed interest in signing the star.
“I'm a fan of Frank's. I think he's a great player. When I think of Chelsea, I think of Frank Lampard ...,” Leiweke told Sky Sports in January. “It took us two years to get David to come here the first time.
“We're working on the next [Designated Player], and we'll continue to work on the next DP. There are a half-dozen guys we have a good relationship with, and we'll see how that goes. But first we've got to have a spot, and at the moment we don't have a spot.”
The Galaxy still doesn't have a spot. MLS clubs may sign up to three DPs, whose salaries go beyond the $350,000 maximum hit to the salary cap. Beckham, Landon Donovan and Irish striker Robbie Keane occupy L.A.'s slots.
Sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to ESPN Los Angeles that AEG is holding discussions with Lampard's representatives.
Lampard, who turned 34 on June 20, still has one year on a Chelsea contract that pays him about $12 million a year. He's been with the Blues since 2001 and captained them, in John Terry's absence to suspension, to triumph over Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final in May.
He is considered one of the finest midfielders of his generation and has played in two World Cups and two European Championships for England, including Euro 2012, in which the English reached the quarterfinals.
Lampard's fiancee, Christine Bleakley, is a television presenter in Britain and could have options in Hollywood.
Lampard has another year to go on his Chelsea contract, but British Sunday tabloid The People reported that the club might be willing to let him leave on a free transfer.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, asked about the reports following Monday morning's training session at Home Depot Center, neither confirmed nor denied such talks.
“We've probably talked to every player you can imagine ...,” Arena said. “I would say this: About four years I've been here. I've always told you guys, if you hear it from me, it will be accurate. And I think for the most part when you hear it from me, it's accurate.”
And we're not hearing it from Arena. Not yet.
Beckham just signed a two-year deal in January, and Donovan's deal with the club goes through 2013. Keane signed with the Galaxy last summer. One of them would have to exit for Lampard to arrive.
WORTH NOTING: The Galaxy played a 45-minute scrimmage against their U-17/18 Academy team Monday, winning, 3-1, as Chad Barrett and Michael Stephens tallied and Marcelo Sarvas converted a penalty kick. Jack McBean scored for the Academy side. Arena used a reserve lineup for the first team: Brian Perk in goal; Academy player Oscar Sorto, Omar Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer and Bryan Gaul along the backline; Bryan Jordan, Rafael Garcia, Sarvas and Stephens in midfield; and Jose Villarreal and Barrett up front. ... Arena, on San Jose drawing 50,000-plus for Saturday night's victory over L.A. at Stanford Stadium: “I think we got the 50,000, actually. I think a lot of those people [were there], to be honest with you, to see David Beckham play.” ... Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who trained last week with the Galaxy, signed a two-year contract with Rio de Janeiro's Botafogo, the club announced. No terms were announced, but Botafogo claimed it was the most lucrative pact for a foreign player in Brazilian history, and club president Mauricio Assuncao told reporters that Seedorf was “the greatest foreign player ever to sign for a Brazilian club.” ... Neither of the Galaxy's Academy teams qualified for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy finals. Both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams finished second in their playoff groups last week in Dallas. The Galaxy won last year's U-15/16 national title.