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'He is part of my plans' - Lampard insists Pedro is not for sale

00:30 SAST 2020/01/11
Pedro Rodriguez, Chelsea
The Blues forward has flirted with the idea of leaving the club in January but it seems he won't be able to until the summer

Frank Lampard says he is unwilling to let Pedro go in January despite his chances in the first-team becoming increasingly infrequent as the Premier League season goes on.

Pedro has flirted with the idea of moving back to his former club Barcelona, while MLS clubs New York City FC, which is Manchester City's sister club, and Inter Miami, which David Beckham co-owns, are also exploring the option to sign him.

The 32-year-old has made just 11 appearances this season and is in the final six months of his Chelsea contract, allowing him to talk to clubs who want to sign him on a free transfer in the summer. Still, Lampard is keen to keep hold of Pedro, amid injury concerns around Christian Pulisic.

“He is part of my plans, I started the season and he was in my team, and then, unfortunately, he got injured at Norwich before the game, and I had to make a change. Then he was out for a while, and I do have competition in that area," Lampard told reporters at Cobham Training Centre.

"He has had bits here and there, I know he wants more games, I get that. But he certainly has something that he can contribute here with his experience and his ability to break lines and run behind people and maybe get those goals in and around the box.

"He is here, I know his contract is up at the end of the season but I am not even looking that far ahead. He is here, he is part of the squad and I need everybody because football can change very quickly. There can be a period of games where you are on the bench, out of the squad, something changes an that is the moment that you have to come in and produce.

"I have got no winners in this game, I want the club to be the winner. People come in and do well, they stay in the team.”

Lampard has already told of how he would be willing to let Olivier Giroud go without a replacement, but he isn't keen to see Andreas Christensen leave, who is in a similar situation to Pedro on the fringe of the squad.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's goalscoring form has come into question but there have also been concerns from some about the form of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Lampard believes that Kepa doesn't need to measure himself by clean sheets and denied speculation linking him to changing the goalkeeping coach from Hilario to his colleague from Derby County, Shay Given.

“I will always take into consideration the confidence levels of all the players. Goalkeeper a specific position and they are normally very obsessed with clean sheets, sometimes I think overly so because I think they take too much on their shoulders because clean sheets are an absolute collective," Lampard said.

“So I will always hope that he feels confident. It is a balance between confidence and players being on edge knowing that we want them to produce, so he has made good saves recently, vs Brighton. I'm always happy with that because that is what he is there for, that's his job, making saves to win us points.

"I’m happy with that so long may that continue. Shay Given – no, loved working with him but I am very happy with that I have got now.”