Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are no longer Chelsea players; they were named on the official list of released players after their contracts ran out.
Whilst the prospect of a deal is not entirely closed, Ashley Cole is especially expected not to sign a new deal and his given his thanks to Chelsea fans on Twitter for their support.
There are a number of reasons why the club have shown a lack of respect to their ageing stars.
Firstly, in respect of Lampard, the player has been played 40 times this season in all competitions.
That figure indicates that the 35-year-old is still regarded as being capable of performing at this level by manager Jose Mourinho.
The England midfielder was named in the starting line-up in a number of crucial fixtures and has also managed to contribute eight goals during a season in which the club’s strikers have spectacularly misfired.
Regardless of what players they bring in the summer, the club could easily follow the example of the likes of Manchester United by offering a contract – before the season ends – to players that still perform well and bring a huge amount of experience to a squad full of younger players.
The club have failed in the past to show the amount of required respect to Lampard; the player was nearly shown the door at the end of last season, despite becoming the all-time top scorer for Chelsea.
It was only the return of Jose Mourinho that saved the player, it therefore seems strange that the Portuguese has not renewed the midfielder’s contract already.
As for Cole, the left-back was dropped in favour of Cesar Azilicueta early in the season, despite the fact that the Spaniard is a right-back.
However, it didn’t seem to be the player’s form that saw him dropped to the bench.
It was initially instead the appearance of Cole at Arsenal’s Christmas party that prompted the manager’s ire; whilst Azpilicueta’s good performances that followed continued to keep the Englishman out of the team.
When Cole was trusted to start in Chelsea’s final matches of the season, the player performed to his usual brilliant best, confounding any suspicion that his time out of the team would have affected his form.
After failing to be offered a new contract, Cole recently said that he is likely to leave Chelsea, and is reportedly a target of the likes of Real Madrid and Liverpool.
Cole’s situation is different to Lampard’s for more than one reason.
Firstly, Cole is 33 and has more than one season left in him, whilst Lampard is nearly 36 and next season could be his last.
Secondly, Lampard faces far more competition in his midfield role – especially with the new signings that are expected – than Cole, who could easily still operate as first-choice or back-up option.
Overall, it seems that Lampard and especially Cole, have been treated poorly.
Whilst Mourinho and Chelsea look to build for the future, they could be neglecting their experienced and still-capable stars at their peril.
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