The Los Angeles Galaxy's bid to acquire Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is gaining momentum, although it's by no means a done deal, according to sources on both sides of the Atlantic.
Lampard has been told by the Chelsea hierarchy that he is free to leave when his contract expires this summer, despite tying Kerry Dixon last weekend for second place on the club's all-time scoring list.
The Galaxy are among the interested parties, though they'll have to beat several high-level teams in Europe to secure Lampard's signature -- a list that according to published reports includes Manchester United, Arsenal, Lazio, and Inter Milan.
One Galaxy source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to comment publicly on the potential move, said there have been preliminary talks.
"It may happen as there have been discussions," he said about the possibility of Lampard moving to Los Angeles. "Nothing official yet, but the rumors are real."
Lampard's agent, Steve Kutner, was a bit more circumspect, but said there are tentative plans to have further conversations with the Galaxy.
"I've been inundated with requests, but I haven't taken anything further yet," Kutner said. "There's still a possibility [Lampard] will stay in the Premier League, but nothing is settled."
Kutner later added, "My plan is to come to L.A. later on this month when I've got a little bit of free time. We've got a lot of options all over the place. We've got no particular preference at the moment."
The departure of David Beckham late last year left Los Angeles with an open Designated Player slot, and L.A. could have another spot open up if Landon Donovan follows through on hints that he plans to take an extended break away from the game.
Galaxy president Tim Lieweke said in an interview with Sports Illustrated last month that L.A. would prefer to sign Real Madrid's Kaka. But that option looks to be unlikely, at least in the short term, after the player said in a postgame interview Dec. 5 that his immediate future lies with his current club.