Frank Lampard has no misgivings about choosing Willian or Pedro this weekend with their contracts expiring only nine days after the Aston Villa trip away.
Now, Chelsea is locked in negotiations with the pair over temporary extensions to their contracts so that they can finish the west London season. Pedro has, however, reached a pre-contract arrangement with Italian Roma giants, leaving doubts about his availability for the matches to come.
Willian hasn’t agreed to move away from Chelsea but he has yet to agree on an extension until the end of the season after he rejected his request for a new three-year contract.
Having seen Ryan Fraser try to leave Bournemouth before the season’s end, Lampard hopes his two forwards will not opt to do the same.
He hopes instead they will stay on and help his side qualify for next season’s Champions League football.
Lampard told reporters through a call from a Zoom conference: “We want them to extend their stay and make sure they can see the season out. I see both sides. Because I was one, I see the individual player and I respect that they were both great club servants. I’ve had nothing but open conversations with them. We ‘re just trying to make this extension happen. Players need to be happy. We’ve got to be happy. Hopefully, we can get there before June 23rd, next week, because that’s the day we’ve got to get it done by.”
There are fears that players seeking free transfers away from their clubs would be wary about lining up because of the possibility of getting hurt ahead of a lucrative move in the final weeks of the season.
Lampard denied claims that he was told by Pedro that he was unwilling to play and that he knew he could rely on his two elder statesmen.
Indeed, their absences may have left Lampard with problems as Callum Hudson-Odoi, due to a minor ankle hit, missed both of their pre-start mates.