European Soccer

Evening Roundup: Inter give up on Lampard but land Muntari, Sunderland swoop for Diouf


The dream reunion of Frank Lampard and ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho just wasn’t destined to be as Inter have ended their interest in Lampard after completing the purchase of Sulley Muntari. The on-again, off-again courtship of the England international has finally been put to rest as it appears that Lampard will stay at Stamford Bridge with no other legitimate suitor having come to the forefront.

In Lampard’s stead Ghana international Sulley Muntari is heading back to Serie A, supposedly as Inter Milan’s last major signing of the offseason. The 23-year-old moved from Udinese last summer for a cost of roughly $14 million, and Harry Redknapp found a good return on his investment with the fee believed to be a hefty $25 million. Despite the funds raised, it is a tiny bit surprising Portsmouth were willing to sell one of their difference-makers with a UEFA Cup run on the horizon.

"Muntari is the last buy," Inter director Gabriele Oriali said. "Now we will work on trimming the squad because Mourinho wants 22 players and three goalkeepers. There will be some painful goodbyes."

It’s been a roller coaster couple of months for one of England’s footballing icons as Lampard heroically returned from the death of his mother to score in the 2008 Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, then the equalizer in the final against Manchester United (which Chelsea lost on penalty kicks). When new Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari brought in Deco, with Lampard still without a long-term contract things grew turbulent, but, it appears rumors of a falling out were exaggerated with Chelsea determined to keep one of their signature faces and Lampard now apparently content.

Sunderland active on the transfer market

No doubt looking to improve on last season’s 15th-place finish or simply to stave off the relegation zone, Sunderland have made a couple of signings, acquiring oft-maligned El Hadji-Diouf from Bolton for an undisclosed fee, however BBC speculates that it was a price of $5 million.

The 27-year-old Diouf, a Senegalese international, is perhaps the highlight of a group of several players to move to the Stadium of Light in the last week, a list that includes ex-Tottenham pair Pascal Chimbonda and Teemu Tainio.

Are you relieved the Lampard speculation finally appears to be over? Are you surprised Portsmouth sold off Muntari with the UEFA Cup in their future? Do you believe Inter are really done shopping? Will Diouf be a difference-maker for Roy Keane’s squad? Share your thoughts below.

  • Mark

    I was hoping to see Lampard move only to be the next English player to underwhelm overseas. He’s a great player, but for whatever reason I can’t stand that guy.

    A 32 year old Robbie Keane is going to look great in an MLS all-star jersey in a few years…


  • Dr. Rockzo, The Rock N' Roll Clown

    It’s disappointing that Pompey lost one of it’s difference makers, but ‘arry seems to be pretty good at finding diamonds in the rough.

    I’d love to see a deep European run for Pompey and another top 6 finish next year.


  • SonicDeathMonkey

    It looks like the Keane transfer was the domino everyone else was waiting on to fall. I expect the next few days will be full of juicy details.


  • anon_e_moose

    Inter aint done theyve been chasing a bigger prize and thats Quaresma from Porto. Its rumoured to be a done deal by the end of the week. 25m euros.

    Also, its rumoured that Liverpool has jumped into the chase for Moutinho, offering Sporting 15,2 m euros. I think he gets sold for 18m euros to somebody. Another issue with Evertons first offer was that they wanted to pay the transfer in installments and thats a non-starter. They couldnt get Serbian GK Stojkovic from us and now they are failing in their bid to buy Moutinho. If Everton wants to be a serious player they got to start negotiating like they are serious.


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