Why Chelsea must keep Frank Lampard
Chelsea opinion: The Blues would be making a massive mistake letting Frank Lampard leave the club
The Roman Abramovich era has seen multitudinous changes at Chelsea.
Numerous managers and players have come and gone. Chelsea's defence has gone from being arguably the most solid in world football to a rather unpredictable unit.
One of the few unchanged things is Frank Lampard's ability to hit the back of the net. The Chelsea star has consistently proven himself to be the most fearsome goal threat from midfield in the Premier League, which is why, as his contract enters its final few weeks, supporters can't help but be baffled by the club's reluctance to offer him a new contract.
Lampard has maintained that he would like to see out his career at Chelsea and has received wide public support from players and managers alike.
Abramovich seems to be the only person who thinks he shouldn't get a new contract. The midfielder epitomises the term 'ageing gracefully'. His performances continue to be top-class even though he is well into his thirties. Lampard's form should have made Chelsea realise the irrationality of their over-30 contract policy by now.
It caused them to lose Didier Drogba last summer, who along with Lampard is arguably Chelsea's greatest ever player. One only has to look across to Manchester United and Ryan Giggs to realise that age is just a number. Though he has a limited involvement now, the Welshman continues to show his quality when called upon, even at the age of 39.
While some may argue that at nearly 35, Lampard's physical capabilities have dwindled, he seems to relish playing week-in-week-out, especially this season where he has said in interviews that fatigue doesn't bother him even while playing twice a week, every week, as Chelsea have done for practically the whole season.
He proved his own statement with his best run of form coming in January and February when he played all but 22 minutes in a ten game run, scoring six goals in the process.
Despite now playing in a holding-midfield role, Lampard has bagged 17 goals in just 37 starts for the Blues this season, and not for the first time, he is their top scorer in the league with 15 goals.
In the absence of John Terry, Lampard has proven that he is a capable leader for Chelsea, most notably in their Champions League triumphs over Barcelona and Bayern Munich last season.
All his teammates look up to him and have immense respect for him and he would be a great player to learn from for the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar. He is cool under pressure, especially from the penalty spot. He has scored 48 of the 55 spot-kicks he has taken for the Blues. He has an uncanny ability to pop up with a vital goal when Chelsea need him most, a quality most recently exemplified by his match-winning brace against Aston Villa.
Moving away from his goalscoring, at Chelsea, Lampard's passing ability is second only to Mata's. His ability to effectively play both the quick, short passes or the long ones in behind the defence allow him to control the tempo of the game. His vision to see a pass is excellent and he still has the ability to unlock the meanest of defences. He shows good composure on the ball and rarely concedes possession cheaply.
Finally, Lampard is a fan favourite at Chelsea and a refusal to give him a contract would not be well received by the Blues supporters, who have already endured a frustrating season.
The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge this season has not been the most positive, which can have a detrimental effect on the players. It would not be helped by pushing Lampard out of the club against the supporters' wishes and Roman Abramovich would do well to change his mind and offer Lampard a new deal.
A failure to do so would rival the sacking of Jose Mourinho as the Russian's worst mistake since buying the club.
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