Frank Lampard has finally ended speculation about his future by signing a new five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
The England and Chelsea midfielder had been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge for more than a year as negotiations over a new deal continued without a successful conclusion. However, the 30-year-old has committed himself effectively for the remainder of his top-level career by signing a new five-year deal yesterday.
"We've signed my new contract today," Lampard said. "I'm personally very happy and I hope I've made the Chelsea fans happy. I've had seven great seasons here and now I can have many more.
"It's been a difficult summer for many reasons and that was one of the frustrating things, a lot of things were said that were untrue, some things were said that were slightly true and that was frustrating. Now we can concentrate on football."
Lampard thanked the club for giving him time to decide on his future following the death of his mother and the fact that the former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had tabled a bid to take him to Internazionale.
"My world got turned upside down and I don't think it is anything anyone appreciates until you go through it," he added. "The club gave me time and I appreciate that. I feel for sure I've made 100 per cent the right decision, for myself, for my family and for Chelsea Football Club."
The club's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, explained that the contract talks had taken time because it was a major decision for Lampard. "These are big issues for the club, for Frank and any other player," he said. "Whatever has gone on I think there is that underlying desire that we get there. It's taken both Frank and the club longer than we originally thought.
"It's a great day for the club, Frank and English football. He has agreed and signed a new five-year contract. It allows us to kill all the speculation of the last 18 months and allows us to concentrate on the really important thing – next season."
Lampard admitted that the timing of the contract had played a part in the protracted discussions. "This has always been a very important contract for me, I've just turned 30 and I see it as my final big contract to see my playing days out at Chelsea," he said. "This summer has been very difficult personally for me and the club have been fantastic through that.
"In the end we got where we all want to be. I'm very happy, I have everything I need and always have. I sat down and realised this club has been great for me and I feel I've been good for the club."
Lampard admitted a move to Inter had been an option but despite his good relationship with Mourinho, he had decided to remain in west London.