According to the Daily Mail, Roman Abramovich has made a sensational U-turn on Frank Lampard’s future and is set to open talks over a new contract for the England midfielder, who scored the winner in last night’s friendly win over Brazil at Wembley.
The Mail say talks about him staying are at a preliminary stage, with sources at Stamford Bridge insisting that the talks were ‘positive’ and the club will formalise things with a firm offer, though the precise terms have yet to be discussed. This comes after a fans’ protest at the player’s situation, which Chelsea owner Abramovich is aware of.
So far this season Lampard has scored an impressive 10 times in 17 Premier League games since coming back from injury, and is now second in the list of all-time leading scorers at the club – just five goals from equalling Bobby Tambling’s record of 202 in a Chelsea shirt.
In a tumultuous season for Chelsea, Lampard has been consistent, and without his goals the side might well be a lot worse off in the league than they currently are. The Mail say Abramovich is becoming increasingly sensitive about his popularity with fans, and is determined to bring success back to the club after the European victory last year.
He has already gone back on his initial decision concerning Ashley Cole, and given the England centurion left-back a new one year extension, but the media talk has all been about Lampard moving on recently and the midfielder believed his career at Stamford Bridge would be over in the summer. According to the Mail, the situation is complicated somewhat by the presence of a number of offers from other clubs around the world, including PSG, and LA Galaxy, who have offered Lampard a two-and-a-half year deal.
But is the right decision here? Should Chelsea be offering a player to sold a contract extension even if it is for a single year and he has been fairly instrumental so far this season?
On the negative side, Chelsea need to rebuild, even after all of the money spent in the summer, and the presence of old heads like Ashley Cole, John Terry and Lampard might actually stifle that opportunity for another year, as potential signings see them as another impediment to getting first team action immediately at the Bridge. If Chelsea want to land someone of the calibre of Marouane Fellaini for instance, who has ambition to win silverware, he will have to be given assurances that he is set for first team action throughout the season.
The long and short of it is, Chelsea need to replace Lampard sooner rather than later, and it might be better to do so when he is still at the top, rather than when he is taking up a squad position next year on what will surely still be a high wage. For the player’s own mind, he will have to consider whether he will get the necessary time on the pitch as he heads into the final years of his career – and whether going out to pasture at LA Galaxy (as some might put it) would be a better option.
But then Lampard is Mr Chelsea, even more so than John Terry, and his influence there has to be considered similarly to Paul Scholes’ effect at Manchester United. And experience is a valuable thing in the Premier League, and equally, so it strong mental strength – just look at Fernando Torres as an example.
Lampard would still do a job for Chelsea on a one year extension, that much is certain, but beyond that you’re getting into Jamie Carragher territory where the player appears to have been pushed to the back of the queue by the team he would bleed for. Perhaps Lampard should do what Carragher appears to have seen as unthinkable and leave before he is forced to retire for lack of playing time and old age.
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