There can be no doubt that Frank Lampard has been a legend at Chelsea. Yes, it is a word used far too often in football but in this instance Chelsea supporters are right to use it to describe Lampard, and his impact on their club since arriving in 2001.
His statistics speak for themselves - 193 goals for Chelsea from midfield, more than 500 appearances for Chelsea, countless domestic trophies and 93 England caps.
The fact that Chelsea's hierarchy is even considering selling such a talisman is baffling. Lampard is not only an icon at the club, he also conducts himself in a manner which is expected of a such a high profile figure. His professionalism and dedication, and the love from his own fans and respect from opposition supporters cannot be doubted.
So what is next for Lampard if Chelsea decide his Stamford Bridge career is over? I doubt he will be short on offers both from home and abroad.
Rumour of a move up north to Manchester United may not be far off the mark. Sir Alex Ferguson does not feel age is a barrier, as long as the players puts the performances in on the pitch. Lampard is younger than both Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, and they are both still going strong at Old Trafford. Sir Alex would know how to manage Lampard in his later years, and would probably still get the best out of him.
Perhaps, the only issue with Manchester is affinity with Chelsea. Would Lampard consider a move to one of the club's title rivals?
Lampard's fiancé, television presenter Christine Bleakley, may also influence his decision. Her career is taking off and she may well prefer either to stay in London, where there are opportunities aplenty, or move abroad to pursue her own career. Both their respective contracts are coming to an end in the summer. In which case America could be ideal for them both. Hollywood would have its clear attraction for Christine, and a lucrative offer from LA Galaxy may be hard to turn down for Lampard.
The other option is for Chelsea is of course to offer Lampard a contract extension. Although this seems a long shot at present, Roman Abramovich may be swayed by pressure from his own supporters and the on-field performances from Lampard, which are still clearly good enough for the Premier League.
Recent performances from Lampard, and the noises from both his and the club's representatives, suggest this season will be a long goodbye, but there is no doubt that Lampard deserves it. If ever a father was going to highlight a role model for his son, then Lampard would be a front runner.
Whatever happens to the Chelsea star, he will be a great addition to any club in the world. Lets hope that he is honoured for what he has achieved at Chelsea in the appropriate way. He will be greatly missed on the pitch, and will be very difficult to replace.
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