Frank Lampard’s position is a complicated one. On one hand he’s fully dedicated to Chelsea and has repeatedly said that he wants to see his career out at Chelsea.
On the other hand, he’s not getting the same amount of money or time on his contract that a few other players at Chelsea FC are getting. As vice-captain and arguably as central to Chelsea’s remarkable success in the last four seasons as captain John Terry, surely Frank Lampard deserves to be on equal footing at Chelsea FC as Michael Ballack and his captain (let’s leave Shevchenko out of this one)?
Inter are offering him the money and a chance to play for Jose Mourinho again. A move to Inter will help Lampard extend his club and international career as well as help him improve as a player. And yet Chelsea only have to match Inter’s offer and give Lampard what he wants (or atleast some of what he wants) in order to get him to stay.
Earlier this season a similar situation developed at Manchester United with defender Wes Brown whose contract was coming to an end in June, and the defender was holding out for higher wages. United refused, remained steadfast but never said a word against the player (preferring to criticise the role of agents in such negotiations). While this went on off the pitch, on it Wes Brown kept turning in a string of solid performances in the absence of Gary Neville and showed, through actions and words, that he wanted nothing more than to stay at United but that he also wanted to be valued by the club.
In the end, United and Brown came to a compromise – both parties got what they wanted and Wes Brown is now (hopefully) at United for several years. It’s the right thing to do – he may not be the best player in his position but he is a valuable individual to have in the squad with his dedication to the club and his versatility in defence.
Lampard is an year away from a similar predicament. He won’t go the Webster way – there’s too much respect for that (or at least there should be) and Chelsea won’t sell Lampard to Inter when they can get another year out of him at the peak of his powers (nor do they want to be seen as caving into player demands). Like Jose Mourinho said – Inter will most likely get Lampard for free next summer.
But why must it come to that? Lampard is willing to stay and only wants to be valued according to his contributions and on a similar scale to how other top players at the club are valued. Chelsea arrived at a compromise with Terry and I hope they do the same with Lampard – otherwise in a day and age where we blame players for being mercenaries, we’ll be seeing a club that doesn’t take care of one of it’s own.