July 10, 2008

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is set to buy out the remainder of his contract with Chelsea in order to join Internazionale, according to The Telegraph.

The England international has been in the middle of one of the summer's most perplexing transfer sagas, as former Blues boss and personal friend of Lampard, Jose Mourinho, looks to lure him to San Siro, where he now coaches Internazionale.

Rumors were prevalent even before Mourinho's switch last month but have now stepped up into a full-blown war between the two clubs.

Inter has made its interest clear and rumors that a deal was already done over a week ago were rife, only for Mourinho to then declare that he did not believe Lampard would be joining him this season, but the next, when his contract at Stamford Bridge runs out.

However, club president Massimo Moratti has since stepped up his quest to sign the player, reportedly tabling three offers which have so far all faced rejection.

The Blues are unwilling to enter any negotiations for their vice-captain, as they have a four-year, $280,000-a-week contract on the table for the former West Ham United player that he is refusing to accept, as he wishes for a five-year deal.

Even though their current stance is effectively allowing one of the club's icons to leave for free in a year's time, their refusal to accept the Nerazzurri's financial advances could yet have further repercussions.

The Telegraph contends that Lampard, 30, may use the now infamous Webster ruling to engineer a move to Italy. Based on the case of former Hearts player Andy Webster, any player who signed a contract before the age of 28 is within their rights to buy themselves out of its remainder three years after it was signed, under Article 17 of FIFA's regulations.

While Lampard is eligible to activate the clause, he may face disciplinary action, as a prerequisite of activating the clause is that notice is given to the club 15 days before the final league match of the season.

Webster himself faced a $300,000 fine and a two-week suspension at the beginning of the following season, a hit Lampard may well be willing to take if the Blues refuse to listen to offers.

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