Jose Mourinho has admitted that he may one day be replaced by none other than Frank Lampard in the Chelsea hot seat, as Roman Abramovich holds the 36-year-old in such high regard.
The Daily Mail carries quotes from the Portuguese boss which reveal that he believes Lampard’s hiatus away from Stamford Bridge won’t last very long at all, and that the England international could well return to the club in a managerial position. The player’s contract with the west London giants is up next month, and it’s largely assumed that he will move to the MLS to see out his playing days on a lucrative salary.
However Mourinho, who has now managed Lampard for a combined total of four seasons over his two spells at Chelsea, believes that the talismanic midfielder has a future with the Blues, and his exit will only be a temporary affair.
The Special One said: “I do not think he is leaving.
“I think he is just going for a ride somewhere and then he is coming back very, very soon because that’s what the owner wants, that’s what he [Lampard] wants – what everybody wants.”
What’s more interesting however is the fact that when asked, Mourinho refused to rule out the possibility of Lampard replacing him as boss.
“Whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I repeat Mr Abramovich’s words – I will have him doing anything.
“The door is open for such a big guy in our club.”
It’s true that Lampard has reached a godly status at Stamford Bridge, aided in no small part by his leal service for the club since signing from West Ham in 2001. The Romford-born playmaker’s trophy cabinet is as richly decorated as anyone’s, and it makes sense that he would try his hand in management.
SUITABILITY TO MANAGEMENT
Though there’s every chance Lampard could find himself out of his depth once he steps into the dugout, the vast majority of fans will expect to see him excel in such a role. His extensive years in the game will have given him plenty of experience in how to win games, and a spell under Mourinho as an assistant could well see him moulded into a tactically astute coach. Of course others have tried and failed to successfully make the transition from playing to management, and there is the chance that the 36-year-old’s ability to set up teams might not be as impressive as his ability to play within them.
Putting talk of Lampard perhaps becoming a future Chelsea manager to one side, Mourinho has a very realistic predicament in the here and now that will be of immediate concern; how to replace the beating heart of his midfield. Though Francesc Fabregas has been signed it remains to be seen whether he will be prolific enough and as passionately inspiring as the departing legend, and it could take a while for the Blues to adapt to life without him.
It’s likely Mourinho will rotate his midfielders until he finds a system that suits the club best moving forward, but the individual influence Lampard was able to exercise on big fixtures will be sorely missed.