Frank Lampard: How Chelsea Legend Could Continue Career with Manchester United

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterJanuary 8, 2013

Frank Lampard could team up with Tom Cleverley at Manchester United.
Frank Lampard could team up with Tom Cleverley at Manchester United.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Frank Lampard and Manchester United would seem an unlikely fit on paper at least, but the Chelsea midfielder does fit neatly into Sir Alex Ferguson's tried-and-trusted template of youth and experience.

The 34-year-old will not be at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of this season after not being offered a new contract, severing a 12-year association with the West London club. 

The England international, though, has been in excellent form in recent weeks, scoring four times in his last five appearances for the club, including a double at Everton to inspire Chelsea's 2-1 win on December 30.

It seems apparent that Lampard will next try his hand in the United States with the LA Galaxy, but staying in England with another leading Premier League side should not be dismissed by the midfielder just yet as reports link him with one of the biggest.

Ferguson is preparing for life without Paul Scholes in the summer with the 38-year-old poised to call time on his playing career, this time for keeps after coming out of retirement midway through last season.

With United struggling to cope with the loss of Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley to illness and injury, respectively, Scholes stepped out of his Old Trafford coaching role to plug the gap.

Scholes scored four times in 21 appearances for United last season and, although the team allowed the Premier League crown to slip from their grasp, the veteran added experience to their midfield.

But it his effect on young United players such as Cleverley that was the key factor for Ferguson.

There is little doubt Cleverley, 23, has a great career ahead of him, but add the weight of Scholes' experience to his game and his chances of becoming a United mainstay increase multifold.

Add Lampard in Scholes' place and the education continues for Cleverley for at least another two years, by which time he should be flying solo.

It is almost 20 years since BBC pundit Alan Hansen blurted out his infamous "You can't win anything with kids" line after United's 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995-1996 Premier League season.

The Old Trafford side went on to claim their second league and FA Cup double that season, but United know that was an extraordinary season with so much young talent at their disposal and their counterparts struggling for any kind of consistency.

Lampard provides a pendulum for the Chelsea team, something which has not gone unnoticed by Ferguson.

And the wily Old Trafford boss has moved for experience in free transfers before as Michael Owen will testify.

A year ago, it was reported that Ferguson was sounded out about a deal to take Lampard to United but baulked at the possibility of paying a fee.

Now, though, the prospect of Lampard joining on a free may have more energy in Ferguson's mind.

Lampard is proving he can still cut it at the highest level with Chelsea—where better to extend his career than Old Trafford, where Scholes and Ryan Giggs have both played on until nearly 40?

Will Chelsea supporters appreciate the return of Lampard next season and would United fans welcome the 34-year-old joining the club?

Let us know what you think.