Manchester United have ramped up interest in Chelsea duo Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole and are now looking to sign the England internationals for free, when their contracts with the Blues expire in the summer, according to the Daily Star.
Lampard scored a brace in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Everton at Goodison Park at the weekend. However, despite the good performances of late, the veteran midfielder has failed to win over club owner Roman Abramovichs's policy of not offering long-term contract to players on the wrong side of 30. Blues legend Didier Drogba had left Stamford Bridge in the summer, even after his match-winning display in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
The report also claims Sir Alex Ferguson was open to signing the duo in January itself but Chelsea's inhibition to sell the players to a rival has made the Scot to wait till the summer. The manager will now put together packages to complete a sensational double swoop.
Lampard has spent 12 seasons at the club since his arrival from West Ham United in 2001 and has notched 191 goals and 130 assists from 569 appearances. Meanwhile, Cole, who hails from the Arsenal academy, has spent six seasons with the Blues, making 284 appearances.
Both players have also been linked with moves abroad, with Lampard reportedly set for MLS or China and Cole to PSG. However, the Ligue 1 side has recently dismissed speculation over their interest in the wing-back. Lampard has been linked with a move to London rivals Arsenal as well; a rumour which was neither confirmed nor denied by Arsene Wenger.
Lampard Asks for Belief
Meanwhile, Lampard has lauded his team after their victory against Everton at the weekend. The midfielder has urged his team to keep believing and be consistent, so as to resurrect their title challenge.
"We have to keep believing. There is a long way to go and things have changed around. It can only happen if we win our games but if we go on performing like we have done in the last few league games and keep doing that, it's all we can do. We need to keep this form and this attitude," Lampard said.