Frank Lampard hails Enzo Fernandez as Chelsea’s ‘standout’ player since his return but cannot confirm contract extension
Frank Lampard has hailed Enzo Fernandez as the ‘standout’ player at Chelsea since his return to Stamford Bridge but was unable to confirm if the Argentina had signed yet another contract with the club. Fernandez has largely impressed in west London since his record-breaking £107m move from Benfica during the January transfer window .
Despite Chelsea’s struggles – they have slipped to 11th in the Premier League and are on verge of a Champions League exit – Fernandez has shown glimpses of his potential and promises to be a key player for the Blues for many years. The 22-year-old signed an eight-and-a-half year contract at Stamford Bridge after leaving Benfica but Chelsea have reportedly taken advantage of a clause in his contract to extend his deal even further, until 2032 .
Blues caretaker boss Lampard was unable to confirm this at his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon but did praise the Argentina World Cup winner and backed him for success in west London.
‘I can’t confirm that, I don’t know actually, sorry about that,’ Lampard said when asked the contract speculation. ‘I’ve got enough on my plate really to be looking to dissect everyone’s contract at the club. ‘The only thing I can say is that from working with Enzo he has been a standout character and player for me in this last week in terms of his attitude and quality.
‘Even though he’s only been here a short time I think he’s a fantastic player for this club going forward and exactly the sort of profile and type of player we’ve been talking about. The contract stuff I’m not aware of.’
Chelsea will look for their first goals and first win under Lampard on Saturday when in-form Brighton visit Stamford Bridge. While Chelsea are languishing down in 11th, Brighton still have European aspirations with 10 games remaining and will face Manchester United in the semi-finals of the FA Cup later this month.
‘They’ve had a fantastic model,’ former Everton boss Lampard said of Brighton. ‘They’ve come up, stabilised their Premier League status and moved up over the past six or seven years. ‘That is their path; Chelsea’s is a different one. This is a club that has been successful over a period of a long period of time. ‘We have to understand when you’re in a process and a project that you’ll have to dig in and not focus on too much opinion.’
After facing Brighton, Chelsea will aim to overturn a two-goal deficit in the second leg of their Champions League quarter- final against Real Madrid.