Frank Lampard has become part of the furniture at Stamford Bridge, amassing over 400 appearances for Chelsea since joining from West Ham back in 2001. Despite being only one goal away from equaling Bobby Tamlin’s goalscoring record for the west London club, the England international’s future with the Blues looks uncertain.
With Roman Abramovich putting an emphasis on young players in the search for continued success, Lampard could well leave the club as a free agent come the summer.
Although a number of possible destinations, including filling David Beckham’s shoes at LA Galaxy, have been touted, a move to Manchester United has also been murmured in the press. United have shown in the past that they will sign players of experience in short term deals, with the likes of Henrik Larsson a classic example.
Despite strolling to Premier League success this term, United’s midfield is an area of contention. Iconic players such as Roy Keane and Paul Scholes have left a legacy in the centre of the park for the Old Trafford club, which some argue has not been lived up to since their demise.
The injury and poor form of Anderson, inconsistency of Tom Cleverley and illness of Darren Fletcher mean that Michael Carrick has harbored the lion’s share of the responsibility to keep the Red Devils ticking over from central midfield.
Despite their strength in other areas of the pitch, United lack a top-quality central midfielder, which has become apparent in big games this term.
The Old Trafford outfit struggled to cope with the options Real Madrid had in the centre of the park in their home defeat in the Champions League earlier this season, and this is surely an area that Sir Alex Ferguson will look to bolster come the summer.
Although at 34 years of age – turning 35 next month – Lampard is not the answer in the long-term, he could well fill a hole and offer leadership in the immediate future. The veteran, on his day, is still a dynamic box-to-box midfielder, who can weigh in with his fair share of goals and shows the determination and motivation of a teenager.
United will have to address their midfield in the long-term, and seemingly a big-money transfer for a recognised player at the pinnacle of his abilities is needed. However, Lampard could be used in a squad rotation system at United next season and prove to be a valuable asset, helping the likes of Cleverley to progress.
Although the big money of a move to the MLS or one of the other cash-rich foreign leagues may appeal, Lampard would surely love to play at the top level in the Champions League and challenge for the Premier League once more.
Mr. Abramovich is right to try to bolster his Chelsea squad to contend for trophies next term, but he may well regret letting a club legend leave. Sir Alex will asses Lampard further when United face Chelsea this weekend.