In 2001, Chelsea FC invested £11 million in West Ham midfielder Frank Lampard as he caught their eye during a six-year spell in East London. Now, 13 years later, the 35-year old is ready to hang up his boots at Chelsea and move on from his incredibly successful time there.
With interest hotting up for the England midfielder, I look at the five most likely possibilities that Lampard will consider.
New York City FC
The new MLS outfit seem like the most likely destination for free-agent Lampard. Owned by Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, the club are looking to build a team for their first season in the American league.
The club have already stated their intent to buy big names by signing Spain striker David Villa this month. With high wages and the prospect of living in one of the biggest and most popular cities on the planet, it is very likely that Lampard will be tempted to make the move across the pond to join up with such a potentially exciting new footballing prospect
Another team who have been linked with Lampard are LA Galaxy. Rumours have appeared over the past few months that the California-based franchised had offered the out of contract man a two year contract. The 2011 and 2012 have a reputation for signing big name players, including the likes of David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Juninho.
With Lampard allegedly keen on a move to the MLS, a move to Los Angeles may be a move to rival the competition for his signature from others such as New York City.
The club that sold such a remarkable player thirteen years ago could well end up being one of the clubs who look to buy him back. After making a name for himself at West Ham and becoming a firm fans favourite at Upton Park, they may well make an effort to re-sign the man who will represent England at a third World Cup.
If his former club, who finished 13th in the league last season, do make a move to sign him, he may see this as an easier option than moving to another country.
Another side who have expressed an interest in signing the midfielder is Queens Park Rangers, who are managed by Lampard's uncle Harry Redknapp. The newly-promoted Premier League side will be looking to bolster their squad with plenty of experience as they aim to build on promotion after just one season in the Championship.
Lampard has been heavily linked with a move to Loftus Road along with Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand. Despite believing that his nephew will move to the MLS, Redknapp may well still attempt to make a move for Chelsea's all-time top goalscorer.
Of course, Lampard may well decide not to find a new club and end his career now after such a long spell with one club. The midfielder has already stated that he may well consider international retirement after this summer's World Cup in Brazil, although he has not yet said anything with regard to retiring from club football.
With plenty of offers on the table for the successful Englishman, he should find a new club without many problems, but this option may well linger at the back of his mind.
So there are what I feel are the five most likely possibilities with regard to the future of Frank Lampard. What do you think he will do next? Comment and let me know.
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