Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has revealed that he is monitoring the situation regarding short-term contracts for players whose deals are set to expire at the end of June, admitting that he'd 'love' for his squad to remain the same until the season is completed.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, play has, of course, been halted and while some leagues in Europe have decided to cancel their current campaigns, the likes of Germany and England are pushing ahead to try to complete the season.
However, in this case, football will be forced to continue into summer - and one major problem that has arisen is how to handle the expiration of players' contracts.
Premier League clubs recently voted unanimously in favour of allowing temporary contract extensions for the 2019/20 season. This would be for players who would otherwise be out of contract at the end of June. However, the agreement must be mutual.
With regards to Chelsea, high-profile players, such as Willian, Pedro and Olivier Giroud, are yet to agree new deals and could walk away from Stamford Bridge for free this summer. Speaking on the issue, Blues boss Lampard has admitted that his intention is for the squad to remain the same until the season is complete and, as a result, he is 'very carefully' monitoring the situation regarding short-term contracts.
He told Chelsea's official website: "We have big players in that position so that’s obviously something I’m looking at very carefully. The ones out of contract here have been great servants for the club and actually have a lot of feeling for the club, but of course they will be concerned about themselves in terms of how they are now, and if pre-season is rushed they’ll want to make sure they’re alright.
"So it’s going to have to be something we look at. Hopefully we can have that arrangement so they can stay with us because if we play again I would love the squad to look as it’s looked all season, but we’ll have to see how that works."
Elsewhere, with clubs returning to small-group training on Tuesday, Lampard insisted that health and safety is the 'main' priority. The 41-year-old added that it is imperative to appreciate the players' feelings and how they are progressing with training.
"The important part of my job at the moment is showing empathy towards them," Lampard continued. "You can’t just tell them we’re going in this direction because this is something that’s affected everyone and their families.
"Football has been put in its place. Everyone wants to get back playing, we all miss it, but we need to know the players are comfortable.
"The players have been out for nine or ten weeks, the first two weeks we were in self-isolation and they couldn’t leave their houses, that’s not normal for a footballer, so we have to make sure we get that right."