Chelsea are planning a summer move for Everton star Marouane Fellaini as they look to replace Frank Lampard, according to The Times.

Lampard is set to leave the Stamford Bridge club at the end of the season after Chelsea reportedly made it clear that they would not be offering the England international a new contract. His present deal expires at the end of the season, and while Lampard would like to extend his contract, the club expects him to depart on a free transfer this summer.

And Rafa Benitez is prepared to trigger the £22m buyout clause in Fellaini's contract this summer as the Blues look to replace Lampard. Fellaini would not be a direct replacement for the Chelsea legend, but his versatility, height and power are valued by the Stamford Bridge heirarchy.

The Times reports that Fellaini signed a five-year deal in 2011, which inserted a £22m minimum fee release clause that can only be triggered by a bid from a Champions League club.

The European champions crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage this season, but are well-placed to secure qualification for next year's competition.

The Blues recently activated Demba Ba's release clause, signing the former-Newcastle striker for a fee in the region of £7.5m, and they are believed to be ready to use similar tactics to bring Fellaini to Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international moved to Goodison Park for £15m in 2008, and has flourished under the guidance of David Moyes.

His performances this season in a more advanced role have been superb, and the midfielder is one of his club's top scorers, although he can also operate as a defensive midfielder or as an out-and-out striker.

Topics:
#Chelsea
#Premier League
#Marouane Fellaini
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