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Chelsea Should Think Carefully Before Letting Legend Frank Lampard Walk Away

frank lampard 600x317 Chelsea Should Think Carefully Before Letting Legend Frank Lampard Walk Away

The direction that the Chelsea hierarchy are looking to steer the club in is very clear. The world’s best young players are very much the agenda in the transfer market whilst the ‘old guard’ look as though they will be allowed to see out their contracts and walk away. Its all about the future. This began when Abramovich brought in Andre Villas-Boas last campaign, looking to usher in a new era at Chelsea. Whilst that experiment was ultimately a failure, it looks to be ‘take two’ as Chelsea’s owner looks set to push the club in that direction once again.

One of the players that looks likely to walk away from the club on a free transfer is quite possibly Chelsea’s greatest ever — 34 year-old Frank Lampard. Having missed a chunk of the early part of the season through injury, Lampard has become a key cog in Rafael Benitez’s new look side. It would have been natural to assume that his recent performances would have opened the eyes of the Chelsea higher ups, but media reports suggest Abramovich will remain unmoved on the issue.

The bottom line is that Chelsea should keep hold of Lampard because he is still a top class midfielder. There is no need to get too nostalgic when thinking back to some of his vintage performances. This is a man that led his team to Champions League glory merely eight months ago. Whilst Drogba grabbed the majority of the headlines throughout the competition, Lampard was massive in Chelsea’s triumphs over Barcelona, Napoli and Bayern Munich. The magnitude of his displays were significantly understated, lost in amongst the ensuing jubilation that followed the victory.

His outings in last season’s campaign demonstrated a real turning point in Lampard’s career. For players like him who have been renowned for their dynamic style, there comes a moment when they must adapt their game when age is slowly creeping up on them. The fluency of this transitional period often determines whether or not a player can go on to play into his mid-to-late thirties at the very top level (Scholes and Giggs are both prime examples of this, whilst Steven Gerrard is beginning to go through a similar stage). After years of familiarity, many players find it difficult to get out of this pattern, lacking the discipline and patience to change.

Lampard has adapted however. He has polished his all round game and developed into an excellent deep lying playmaker, whilst still being more than capable in a more advanced role. This means that in practice, Chelsea should be able to accommodate the England man, as well as Mata, Oscar, Hazard and Moses. His forward bursts are more sparing, but chosen with greater maturity and purpose. The man has a real ‘football brain’.

Chelsea has already seen how difficult it can be to replace an outgoing club legend. Didier Drogba left in a blaze of glory following that famous night in May. But nobody has stepped into the talismanic shoes following his departure. Latest signing Demba Ba looks to have been signed in an attempt to fill that Drogba-shaped hole in the side, but it is very early days for him. You worry the same could happen with Lampard. Goal-scoring midfielders like him are a dying breed in the modern game. He could prove to be even more difficult to replace.

One case Chelsea might want to look at is AC Milan, who themselves have seen a lot of their ‘old guard’ move on in the hope of replacing them with a crop of youngsters. They declined to offer star midfielder Andrea Pirlo a new deal in keeping with their new ideology. Pirlo has been making history at rivals Juventus ever since, playing probably the best football of his career. In similar circumstances, I have no doubt that Lampard would still be an attractive option for many of Chelsea’s immediate rivals, especially on a free transfer (Manchester United have been linked with a move in today’s press). Chelsea do not want to be in the same situation as AC Milan, watching ‘one of their own’ pulling up trees for a rival.

For a club that is looking to go in a new direction, you need to maintain some stability. It’s not a change that can be made overnight. Young players need experience alongside them to flourish, develop and learn. In this months ‘FourFourTwo’ magazine, Rio Ferdinand talks about David O’Leary’s famous young Leeds side and what stopped them from picking up silverware. “Experience” he said. “No one had the mentality. Nobody had been close to winning the title”.

Despite the flurry of managerial changes down the years, Lampard has been one of a few constants upon which trophy winning sides have been built. He could have such a positive influence on the young players that the club are trying to develop into the next superstars. Who better to show them exactly what Chelsea FC should mean?

I just have a feeling we might see a few more twists and turns in this transfer saga yet.

Do you agree? Is it the right time for Lampard to leave the club? Who could come in to replace him if he does go?

Follow me on Twitter: @13mattj13

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About Matt Jones

Matt has been writing for World Soccer Talk for more than two years, contributing pieces about myriad topics and regularly lending his voice to the podcast. Matt has covered games live for the website from a host of venues, including Wembley, London and the ANZ Stadium, Sydney. He is a regular at Goodison Park where he watches his beloved Everton, but harbours an unyielding interest in all aspects of European soccer. You can get in touch with Matt via e-mail at mattjones@worldsoccertalk.com or on Twitter @MattJFootball
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12 Responses to Chelsea Should Think Carefully Before Letting Legend Frank Lampard Walk Away

  1. Jdoe says:

    I wish more teams were like United from the perspective of maintaining continuity. That’s something Arsenal is suffering from. However, Chelsea already let Drogba leave at least one year early without a viable replacement. Lampard leaving will pale in comparison. Regarding Lampard’s options, why would Milan let go of their old guard only to bring another ‘old’ player in? I doubt that’s even a remote possibility.

  2. Matt Jones says:

    Wasn’t suggesting that Milan was a viable option for Lampard. Rather that they are going through a similar sort of transition period to Chelsea. They let Pirlo go when they could have maybe kept him. No doubt they regret it now. Maybe the same could happen with Lampard and Chelsea?

  3. Mufc77 says:

    Fat Frank to Utd at the end of the season on a free certainly isn’t the worst thing that could happen especially if Scholes and Giggs retire.

    I’d rather we brought in a younger midfielder but adding fat Franks experience wouldn’t be a bad alternative.

  4. Jason says:

    Will keeping Lampard win them the title next season? I doubt it. They can still be competitive enough to get into the CL without him. So if you want to replace him with a young talent with potential it’s better to do it now. This is about the future of Chelsea. Cannot fault them for letting him leave especially since it has been reported that he wants a 3-year contract. The money he may be on could also be a problem for the club.

  5. savage says:

    Chelsea played their strongest team and won convincingly in world club cup, then Lampard came out in the media saying he didn’t understand why they didn’t start hi, putting pressure on new manager who played him in final.bottom line, Lampard lost us that cup.He was aweful.Super Frankie can only help the younger players by giving them a chance to play ahead of him.They are more than capable..

  6. AmadeoC says:

    They should keep him. Not as many all around players w/ that quality exist anymore. Cfc could also use the experience he brings to the team.

  7. Scrumper says:

    Of course every team needs a changing of the guard to remain competitive, but Lampard is still doing it for Chelsea and David Luiz is no Lampard. If Man U are serious it’s not the first time they’ve done such a deal, and Fergie loves a midfield general. Could be a win win for Lampard and Utd.

    Totally exhibits Chelski’s callous attitude to their players.

  8. Peter says:

    Lamps and Terry have been there longer than Abramovich, and while all players have to move on to retirement eventually, the owner may be underestimating their importance to the identity of the club, and he may find that hurrying them out the door produces problems he hadn’t planned for.

    This is an important transition for him, as well, after all -a major transition in the team’s leadership, and the first such transition under his ownership. Has he given his younger players a chance to learn how to lead, or will it be thrust upon them before they’re ready? As much as one might like to think Cahill (already 27) or Luiz or Mata could lead the team and win the league, none of them appears to be ready for that yet.

    There have been nine managers during the not quite ten years that Abramovich has owned the club. The core players – Terry, Lamps, Drogba, Cech – provided the only real continuity over the majority of that period. Who will be providing continuity when Abramovich moves onto his 10th and 11th managers?

    I have no idea what terms Lampard is seeking, and perhaps the LA Galaxy offer a certain kind of appeal for him and his wife to be, but it’s easy to see Ferguson getting a good few years out of him as a Scholes replacement. Someone with deep experience will understand how to benefit from players with deep experience.

  9. Bishopville Red says:

    People keep comparing Lampard and Chelsea with Giggs and Scholes and United. There are, however, two significant differences between the two situations:

    1) Lampard won’t accept a diminished role. Managers have lost their jobs over the suggestion.

    2) Lampard makes just a shade less than Giggs and Scholes combined.

    That’s why they’re right to let him go.

    SB

  10. Fernando says:

    His wages are very high but to think it’s about his salary is not valid in my view.

    He still scores, he knows how to win in the Premier League, he is not a liability on the pitch.

    If there’s one thing Sir Alex has made room for it’s importance of keeping players who have experience of handling pressure situations. For Chelsea to want to push someone who is on the verge of becoming they’re all time leading scorer is insane.

    That’s the people running Chelsea though. Tone deaf and illogical on football matters.

  11. Dust says:

    Funny how more and more people are becoming increasingly open to his departure being about player power & his role in the avb ousting….lol

    Serie A or Ligue Un …. Perhaps his fiancé will follow him to Hollywood & the galaxy, but leaving his kids in the uk as he goes to la for the season would be harsh for him I would image, Italy is a 90 mins away & PSG just 45.

    As much as I dislike his club and his apparent power plays, there is no denying as a midfielder he has been quality & a CFC legend. Ridiculous goal scoring record for his club as a midfielder.

  12. Jason says:

    Unlike Giggs and Scholes who took a pay cut and less playing time, Lampard won’t accept such a deal. There is no guarantee that he will continue to perform at this level 2 years down the line. It’s a tough decision for any club as to what to do with their ageing players.

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