What’s The Deal With Lampard At Chelsea?


Ironically, with a bit of a lull on the subject of Frank Lampard’s possible transfer to Inter Milan, I’d just started writing a piece on our ‘committed’ midfielder when news started to break he’d signed a four year contract with the Italian club. According to the source – highly regarded magazine France Football – Lampard will earn an annual salary of £5.8million when he teams up with former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. I’m sure the matter of how much truth there is in this story will become clearer in the not too distant future (and his agent has already rubbished the reports), but I for one wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it happen.

Lampard’s contract has been a bone of contention for so long it seemed inevitable (to some) that his failure to sign last summer would see him seeking a move elsewhere. According to reports in the press, the stalling point in the contract talks seemed to be around the length of a proposed deal, with Chelsea offering a 2-year extension to his current deal and Lampard asking for an extra 4 years. Now whilst I’m sure the vast majority of supporters would suggest Chelsea give Lampard what he wants, I’d have to agree with the club on this one. Why would any club – never mind a club who’ve already been caught out giving the ageing Shevchenko a 5-year deal – offer a player Lampard’s age a deal that’d see him earning a ridiculous amount of money until the ripe old age of 37?

Despite the offer of £135,000 a week for another couple of years, putting him on a par with John Terry, Lampard is apparently adamant that as one of the fittest players in the Premier League, his stamina should be sufficient argument for a lengthy deal – although last seasons injuries have probably given him less to bargain with on that point. And if you look at the fact that Ballack was only given a 3-year contract when he joined at the age of 29, Lampard’s arguments fall down even further. The German midfielder, clearly in better form than Chelsea have ever seen him, only has a year left on his contract himself and yet doesn’t seem to be holding a gun to the club’s head himself.

Now whilst I would always acknowledge the huge contribution Lampard has made to Chelsea, not least of all the 20 plus goals he’s provided for the past 3 seasons, the fact that he’s dragged this contract saga out for two years is something that’s seen me question his commitment on several occasions over the past 12 months. And whilst the vast majority of supporters would apparently give their right arm in exchange for him staying, that’s a standpoint I can’t agree with.

I mean, take another hot topic right now – the Ronaldo stories. There’s been plenty said about how much of a mercenary he is stringing United along by not coming out and making his intentions clear but what I can’t see is how Lampard’s any better. In fact, given that Frank’s actually stated how much he loves Chelsea and wants to see out his career with us – repeatedly (whilst kissing the badge) – he still didn’t get round to actually proving it by signing a new contract, so surely that’s worse? At least Ronaldo signed a new contract for United so if he does go, it’ll be a huge financial gain for United which is more than can be said for the reported 9million euros we’ll have got for Frank. At the end of the day, we always knew and more importantly, Lampard always knew that if he left his contract until this point, Chelsea would lose millions in the event of his departure. I just fail to see how any supporter can see that as a sign of a player who really cares about his club or finds it acceptable.

And whilst I repeat that I’d never underestimate how much of a contribution Lampard has made at Chelsea, I’m afraid I’ve got to the point where I totally agree with Mikel on this. If Lampard goes, he goes and we’ll move on without him.