Key examples of this in the past are Robin van Persie at Arsenal, Roy Keane at Manchester United and most recently, Frank Lampard at Chelsea. The Premier League’s all-time highest scoring midfielder’s current contract at Stamford Bridge expires in the summer and with talk over his future doing the rounds, he is refusing to get dragged into it, stating after Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Everton at the weekend: “We haven’t been talking about a new contract in the last couple of weeks.”
Whether he’s trying to pour cold water over journalists looking for a scoop or whether Chelsea are playing hard ball remains to be seen, but what can’t be in doubt is the fact that the 34-year old’s professionalism and dedication to the Chelsea cause has been nothing short of 100% in his ten-year plus spell at Stamford Bridge. With goals in abundance, immense work rate and a super footballing brain, Lampard Jnr has been key to Chelsea’s success in recent times.
Making up part of a core spine which includes Cech and Terry (insert striker name here, of which there’ve been many), the midfield man has won it all at the west London club and while Roman Abramovich has hired and fired numerous bosses in that spell, Lampard has remained a constant throughout. A key spokesperson, as well as player.
You would immediately think that a player of such high calibre would be signing a new deal in a heartbeat – I mean, look at how crucial Paul Scholes has proved at Manchester United, even after renouncing his retirement. It would also be remiss to say that Chelsea no longer require his services because surely every club needs a creative and attacking midfielder of Lampard’s ilk.
In the same breath though, he’s no longer as key a component in the team set-up as he once was. Interim boss Rafa Benitez and Roberto Di Matteo before him have been keen to deploy three attacking midfielders in matches, namely Hazard, Oscar and Mata. All of whom are extremely dangerous, potent and have youth on their side. A luxury which ol’ Lamps is not so reliant on anymore. Is there room for him in this Chelsea side?