AVB’s praise for Drogba

Ivory Coast star Drogba is reportedly holding out for a two-year

deal to replace the contract that expires at the end of the season,

with the Blues said to have offered only a one-year extension. The

parties have less than a month to end the impasse before Drogba is

able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a rival club when the

January transfer window opens. The 33-year-old this week claimed he

could play at the highest level at least until he was 36 after

coming to the rescue of the Blues’ Champions League campaign with

two goals in their 3-0 win against Valencia. And it appears he has

won over manager Villas-Boas, who said: “I agree with that. “His

level of performance has been outstanding, helping the club and

team-mates. “Of course, the club have to agree that players who

perform are the players who should continue. “It’s an ongoing talk

with him and his people. “Also, we have to recall that he’s going

to the African Nations Cup and won’t be back until February 12, so

there’s a lot to decide. “But his professionalism and integrity

will never be in question, regardless with what happens with his

contract.” Another player whose long-term Chelsea future has been

called into question is Frank Lampard. Drogba’s fellow 33-year-old

was dropped for Tuesday night’s game, proving he was no longer a

guaranteed starter in the club’s biggest matches. Lampard has been

heavily linked with a move to the Los Angeles Galaxy, as a possible

replacement for David Beckham. Villas-Boas insisted any link had

not come from the Chelsea end and backed Lampard to fight for his

place in the side. “Everybody is challenging for a place, and the

competition is the same for Lamps as them all,” he said. “They all

deserve credit and, for sure, things will turn round for him.”