Ron Gourlay doesn't sit down with the media to talk about Chelsea all that often, but he did today and was asked about the situation of Frank Lampard. He didn't say much, but he did address the question briefly:
'Discussions are ongoing and must be kept confidential at this stage.'
While it doesn't tell us whether or not we're getting any closer to seeing Lampard extend his stay, it's good to know that the club is at least pursuing an extension. If Lampard simply want too much money or a multi-year deal, I could deal with negotiations not resulting in an extended stay. i'd have a hard time with the club simply refusing to talk extension though, as the player and the fans both deserve at least that much.
Gourlay also spoke about the club's priorities for the remainder of the season, making it very clear where the focus should be at this point:
'It was the club's plan to have Benitez as interim manager with the aim of securing a Champions League position at the end of the season. We'll assess the situation then. We can still win the Europa League and FA Cup, but make no mistake, our priority lies with a Champions League spot.'
I, like many of us, have never been particularly fond of the hiring of Benitez. At least the priorities appear to be in the right place from those that made the decision at this point, as the league simply needs to take precedence to the other remaining competitions.
Hopefully that message has gotten to Benitez, as he's generally not been using the FA Cup and Europa League as an opportunity to rest our key players. I'd expect to see a nearly full strength squad run out at Old Trafford just due to the opponent, so what he selects as a squad for Thursday should speak volumes about where his priorities lie.
Update: As I was taking my sweet time writing this, there have been reports that Gourlay may have been misquoted on Lampard. How the English speaking media would misquote a man speaking the English language that badly is a bit beyond me, but what exactly do I know? Only at Chelsea...