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Panda loves/wants Gerrard

Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Avram Grant has admitted that Steven Gerrard is the player he admires most in the Premier League.

The Chelsea boss believes that the Liverpool skipper should walk away with the PFA and European Player of the Year awards this season, and has revealed that he would love to take the England international to Stamford Bridge.

Gerrard came close to joining the Blues on two occasions when Grant's predecessor Jose Mourinho was in charge of the West London club, but eventually decided to stay with his hometown club.

Grant feels that the Reds midfielder has become an even better player since then after being given the licence to roam behind Spanish striker Fernando Torres and insists that it is Gerrard, not Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, who can now rightfully claim to be the best player in Europe.

"Gerrard is a great player and a great person," the Blues manager told the News of the World.

"For me he is the player of the year in England and maybe in Europe because of the influence he has on the team.

"He's very good, I like him very much as a player. And I know him, he is a nice guy, a positive guy and he is an example for many people.

"Unfortunately he plays against me, not with me, but he is still my favourite player.

"I'm not surprised he is playing up front with Fernando Torres now because I think he can play in many positions.

"In that position he probably feels more free. Tactically, it's not easy to play against this position."

With a rumoured £100million transfer budget set to be made available by club owner Roman Abramovich this summer, Grant admits that, if he became available, Gerrard would be his No. 1 target.

"If you can bring him to me I will be happy," he said.

The under-fire coach will come face-to-face with Gerrard on Tuesday when Chelsea travel to Anfield for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.

It is the third time in four years that the two sides have met at this stage of the competition, and Grant is confident that he can go one better that Mourinho and take the Blues to their first final.

"The last games were too tactical," he said.

"I think that football needs to be tactical but not too tactical.

"You need freedom to play. Football goes two steps when people start to talk of details but now we need the next step, to give players the freedom to think because they have the responsibility they didn't have 10 years ago.

"So I am trying with my team to give them the freedom to think with responsibility."

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The freedom to think with responsibility....as opposed, presumably, to being irresponsibly confined??

Perhaps that explains playing Anelka as a winger:

Grant: I want you to play on the left.

Anelka: But I'm a striker.

Grant: But you'll have so much more freedom on the left as long as you use that freedom responsibly.

Anelka: (thinking to himself) Perhaps I'll just drift about then.

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Grant praises Gerrard

Avram Grant admits he would love to take Steven Gerrard to Chelsea after revealing his admiration for the Liverpool captain and England star.

The Blues manager is preparing to face midfielder Gerrard and Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final at Anfield on Tuesday.

Grant said: "Gerrard is a great player and a great person. For me, he is the player of the year in England."

another statement why this bloke should not be the manager of any club let alone chelsea clap2.gif

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didnt jose do something similar before the carling cup final a couple of seasons ago? then gerrard scored a bleting own goal. be nice if it happened again.

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Avram just don't learn... He needs to win the fans over and now he just blew every little bit of respect he have gathered over the months. And he is saying stuff like that when we are desperate about getting a new contract with Lampard.

Avi tries to be friends with everyone...outside the club that is. icon_rolleyes.gif

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Gerrard almost joined Chelsea in June 2004 for £20m, and again 12 months later, for £32m, after the Anfield captain reacted to the interest by submitting a transfer request. He changed his mind only after his family received death threats and a fan burned his replica shirt live on Sky TV.

This bit was interesting. I always thought he chose stay out of love for the shirt and those cheeky chappie Mousers.

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It's clearly Avram Grant trying to play mind games ahead of the Champions League tie. Whether or not it is successfull, well thats another matter entirely.

I remember Anchellotti playing this card ahead of the first Liverpool - AC Milan champions league final a few years back and it failing miserably.

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piss of to da scousers den and play wid ur beloved gerrard u w****r...dnt let lampsy go anywhere...he's a true blue through and through

Message for Avram or Jose?

Try and write in English please mate.

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Just shows you that even in the mind-games department, Avi just isn't Jose.

I'm guessing that this is all based on the fact that Gerrard played rubbish during Euro 2004 supposedly because his mind was on a transfer to Chelsea. Some would argue that he played rubbish because he is a rubbish player - but that is a different story.

Might also be to try and get a decent dominating performance from the likes of Lamps, Ballack and Essien, who might want to show that they are better than Gerrard.

The trouble is, it seems like Avi's mind-games are about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

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