Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Juventus in negotiations for Lampard

Juventus wants Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard to play for the club next season.

Lampard's agent Steve Kutner was photographed meeting officials from the Turin-based club outside a London restaurant on Wednesday, according to Friday's edition of Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It would be nice," Juventus sporting director Alessio Secco was quoted as saying of a possible deal. "But the problem, more than (Lampard's) price tag, is his wage."

Those wage demands would be around EUR6 million ($7.94 million) a year after tax according to Gazzetta.

Lampard has the option to buy out the remaining two years of his Chelsea contract at the end of this season. Media reports have speculated that Lampard, 28, is waiting to see if coach Jose Mourinho remains at the Premier League champions before making a decision.

Mourinho has pledged to see out his contract at Stamford Bridge until 2010 but his future remains in doubt amid reports he has fallen out with billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

"(Chelsea chief executive) Peter Kenyon knows what we want and also knows that Frank has a lot of options," Kutner was quoted as saying in Gazzetta.

Lampard has scored 10 goals in the Premier League this season and has also been linked to Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Juventus is seeking to offload a number of players to boost a reported transfer fund of EUR 40 million (US$52.9 million) set aside for reinforcements, ahead of an expected return to Italy's Serie A next season, reports AP.

"Steve's giving us a hand with his contacts," Secco told Gazzetta.

Juventus was stripped of its last two Serie A titles and demoted to Serie B with a points penalty in the wake of the Italian match fixing scandal last year.

Juventus leads Italy's second division by three points after 27 of 42 rounds.