In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Italian side Torino say they want to secure a permanent deal for Chelsea defender Ola Aina, Derby County owner Mel Morrris talks about the positive impact Blues legend Frank Lampard has had on the Rams and ex-Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf reveals why he would have preferred playing in the Europa League instead of the Champions League.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Torino keen to keep AIna
Calcio Mercato is reporting that Torino are looking to make Ola Aina’s move from Chelsea permanent after the Nigeria international defender enjoyed a solid season on loan at the Serie A club.
Under the terms of the loan, the Italian reportedly have an option to buy him for 10 million Euros and Torino president Urbano Cairo has indicated that he intends to trigger that clause after his side’s 3-1 win over Lazio on Sunday in their final game of the Serie A season.
‘Ola Aina? He did well, tomorrow he will send the letter to Chelsea to communicate that we will exercise the right of redemption,’ said Cairo to Sky Sports.
The 22-year-old full-back has enjoyed a successful spell in Italy, appearing in 30 league matches for Torino as they finished seventh, their best league finish since 2014.
Aina finished the campaign in style by providing an assist for Torino’s opening goal against Lazio with a long throw-in which was turned in by Iago Falque.
Derby owner lauds impact of Lampard
In an interview with the Telegraph, Derby County owner Mel Morris has said that Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has created ‘a special environment’ at the club and overcome any scepticism he may have had about his inexperience in management.
Morris said that the idea of appointing Lampard was first put forward to him by Lampard’s uncle and former manager at West Ham, Harry Redknapp, when the Rams were looking for a replacement for Gary Rowett after their defeat in the Championship play-off semi-finals last May.
‘Harry called and said: ‘Just go and meet Frank Lampard, see what you think, and decide after you’ve met him,’’ recounted Morris
‘I was sceptical, not about it being Frank, more about someone who had never done it before. But every managerial appointment is a gamble and whatever happens now, he’s made history here.’
However, the decision to take a risk on Lampard paid off for Morris and Derby.
‘Frank has brought the buzz back to the place. He has created a special environment. It wasn’t about him being a celebrity, it was about somebody giving us excitement.
‘He has an aura, like all great managers. I called Harry this week and said: ‘Don’t for one minute ever forget your role in all of this.’’
While delighted with the impact that Lampard has had on the club, Morris believes that that the former Blues midfielder will eventually return to Stamford Bridge.
‘One day he is going to be [back] at Chelsea, I am sure, because of the legend he was there. The longer he is here with success, the easier it is to go there without risk because Chelsea is a big club with massive expectations," he said.
‘I would always be pleased we gave him the opportunity, proud of what he has achieved with us, and if that happened sooner rather than later I would just hope it works out for him. There would be absolutely no ill feeling and we’d understand it’s probably an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.’
Leboeuf prefers Europa League to Champions League
The Frenchman, who won the Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup with the Blues in 1998, said that he would prefer to help his club win a competition instead of just making up the numbers.
‘Sometimes I wonder whether it’s better for the club to be in the Champions League when you know you won’t win it or in the Europa League and having a chance to win it,’ he explained.
‘As a player, I’d rather be in the Europa League because, at the end of my career, I would have lined my resume.
‘If I’d got to the quarter-finals of the Champions League or the semi-final, it won’t mean anything at the end of the day.
‘Yes, you’ve played in the Champions League, well done, but what did you win? Nothing? Unlucky.’
Villas-Boas linked with Marseille
The Telegraph is reporting that former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is close to making a return to football as the coach of Marseille.
The Portuguese tactician has been out of work since leaving Chinese club Shanghai SIPG in November 2017 and taking a break from football to compete in the Dakar Rally.
He has been linked with Scottish champions Celtic but is understood to have held talks with Marseille, who are looking for a replacement for Rudi Garcia after they finished fifth in Ligue 1 and failed to qualify for European competition next season.
‘I was already in contact with Marseille in 2013 before I went to Zenit (St Petersburg),’ said Villas-Boas.
‘It’s one of the biggest clubs in Europe with lots of prestige and a European Cup winner. It’s obviously something that interests me but they’ve just made the decision regarding Rudi Garcia.
‘The club is well led by Andoni Zubizarreta. If they come around we will of course meet with them and it could be a possibility.’