Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson wants to sign Chelsea ace Frank Lampard this month. The Daily Mail says Lampard has been told his contract will not be renewed after holding showdown talks with Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay.

Lampard believed he was about to be offered a new deal after talks were scheduled ahead of Chelsea's game with QPR last Wednesday.

Instead the midfielder - now just nine goals behind Bobby Tambling in the list of all-time top scorers at Stamford Bridge - was told he can leave on a free transfer in the summer.

Although Lampard will not be allowed to leave until his contract expires at the end of the season, Manchester United and Arsenal are the two English clubs with genuine interest in signing him.

Sir Alex Ferguson has made it clear to Lampard that he would sign the midfielder immediately, but it appears to be a remote possibility.

Arsenal's interest is not as strong, but they have asked to be kept informed of developments.