The dream reunion of Frank Lampard and ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho just wasn’t destined to be as Inter have ended their interest in Lampard after completing the purchase of Sulley Muntari. The on-again, off-again courtship of the England international has finally been put to rest as it appears that Lampard will stay at Stamford Bridge with no other legitimate suitor having come to the forefront.
In Lampard’s stead Ghana international Sulley Muntari is heading back to Serie A, supposedly as Inter Milan’s last major signing of the offseason. The 23-year-old moved from Udinese last summer for a cost of roughly $14 million, and Harry Redknapp found a good return on his investment with the fee believed to be a hefty $25 million. Despite the funds raised, it is a tiny bit surprising Portsmouth were willing to sell one of their difference-makers with a UEFA Cup run on the horizon.
"Muntari is the last buy," Inter director Gabriele Oriali said. "Now we will work on trimming the squad because Mourinho wants 22 players and three goalkeepers. There will be some painful goodbyes."
It’s been a roller coaster couple of months for one of England’s footballing icons as Lampard heroically returned from the death of his mother to score in the 2008 Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, then the equalizer in the final against Manchester United (which Chelsea lost on penalty kicks). When new Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari brought in Deco, with Lampard still without a long-term contract things grew turbulent, but, it appears rumors of a falling out were exaggerated with Chelsea determined to keep one of their signature faces and Lampard now apparently content.
Sunderland active on the transfer market
No doubt looking to improve on last season’s 15th-place finish or simply to stave off the relegation zone, Sunderland have made a couple of signings, acquiring oft-maligned El Hadji-Diouf from Bolton for an undisclosed fee, however BBC speculates that it was a price of $5 million.
The 27-year-old Diouf, a Senegalese international, is perhaps the highlight of a group of several players to move to the Stadium of Light in the last week, a list that includes ex-Tottenham pair Pascal Chimbonda and Teemu Tainio.
Are you relieved the Lampard speculation finally appears to be over? Are you surprised Portsmouth sold off Muntari with the UEFA Cup in their future? Do you believe Inter are really done shopping? Will Diouf be a difference-maker for Roy Keane’s squad? Share your thoughts below.