Frank Lampard: Where Will Chelsea Veteran Go Next?
Lampard, even at age 34, can still contribute. The question is, where?
Chelsea executives told Frank in Japan during the Club World Cup, then again reconfirmed with me after the Everton victory (both in December), that in no circumstances will he be offered a new contract to stay at the club after the end of this season.
Nothing since has changed in any respect. Frank has had to accept that and just wants to carry on playing football for Chelsea so as to finish the season as successfully as possible for the club that he loves.
Over at the Daily Telegraph, Thom Gibbs has compiled a list of Lampard's most likely destinations. Gibbs includes several destinations, from China to Australia to Paris Saint-Germain and the Premier League's Queens Park Rangers.
But Lampard's most likely destinations, according to Gibbs, are Italy, Major League Soccer and another Premier League giant. It's hard to fault Gibbs' reasoning, so I'll address the same three options here.
In Italy, the suitors are reportedly Inter Milan and Lazio (per The Independent). The playing style in Serie A, which is slower than the Premier League, would suit the 34-year-old Lampard. So would playing for a big-name club like Inter or to a lesser extent, Lazio.
One potential downside to Italy, however, is that Lampard is not a native speaker of the language (though, admittedly, it would hardly be an issue in today's game). That would not be an issue in MLS or with another Premier League club.
As for MLS, the rumors swirled late last year about a possible move for Lampard to the Los Angeles Galaxy (via ESPN FC, Daily Mail). The speculation quieted down lately, but with David Beckham gone, the reigning MLS champs need to fill a star-sized hole in their roster.
Furthermore, the Southern California lifestyle would attract anyone, and at 34, Lampard would probably prosper in MLS' playing environment—though the league is not "terrible," as the Telegraph's Gibbs writes.
Finally, there's the Premier League. Manchester United (via Daily Telegraph) and Arsenal (via Daily Mirror) are reportedly interested, and a move to either would create sensational headlines throughout England.
Where will Frank Lampard play next season?
As Lampard showed in a recent 2-1 Chelsea victory over Everton, he can still score goals and lead a top-flight team to victory. If United and Arsenal really are interested, it seems possible that Lampard would share that interest.
With that said, loyalty to Chelsea—the club Lampard says he loves, the club he's played for since 2001—might keep him from joining any English team, especially a London rival like Arsenal or a title rival like United.
While the Italy option is intriguing, a move to MLS and the West Coast might just make the most sense, based on cultural fit and quality of play.
Lampard has shown as recently as December that he can still be a match-winner at age 34. But after more than a decade on top in London, he might just be ready for a Southern California adventure.
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