Why Frank Lampard Should Be Seen as One of the Premier League's All-Time Greats

Joe KrishnanContributor IJanuary 10, 2013

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Frank Lampard of Chelsea thanks the support after the FA Cup Third Round match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium on January 5, 2013 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

It's not just myself who regards Chelsea's decision to shepherd Frank Lampard as completely shambolic, utterly ridiculous and quite frank-ly (see what I did there?) catastrophic for the club moving forward. You'll find the odd Chelsea fan, who is by all means deluded to the extent that they actually believe Rafa Benitez should stay at Stamford Bridge, who tends to believe the time has come for Lampard to bid farewell to the place he made his fortress in his 12 years at the club.

Frank Lampard cost Chelsea just £11 million, and that's the transfer fee that Chelsea forked out to sign the highly-rated midfielder from West Ham United, an offer the chairman of the Hammers simply couldn't refuse but also one that Leeds United owner Peter Risdale said was, at the time, "overpriced." Mr Risdale may live to regret those words, for Lampard is now seen as one of the world's greatest ever midfielders, and Leeds are stuck in the second tier of English football. 

Where do you start when you even attempt to describe Lampard's incredible attributes which make him, even at 35 years of age, a valuable asset to any club he might play for? His technique when he hits the ball with such precision and power, the way he can play a first-time pass without looking, the way he knows instinctively just when to break forward—or perhaps it's his desire just to play football?

Jose Mourinho was even astonished to learn when he became Chelsea manager that one of his first tasks was to get Frank Lampard off the training ground. After everyone had left, Lampard would stay an extra half an hour to ensure he gets the maximum out of training. What does that prove? Well, it's clear to everyone that the Romford-born midfielder lives, breathes and sleeps football.

Even if you were a striker, 193 goals for your club isn't a bad record. So, to see a midfielder score week in, week out and in addition to that, score 20 or more goals a season for 10 consecutive seasons is, well, quite literally unbelievable. Pundits and players alike would compare Lampard to his England team-mate Steven Gerrard.

But in truth, the Liverpool midfielder can never quite measure up to the former West Ham man's record. In terms of reputation, Gerrard is more respected in his parts of Merseyside. But Lampard will go down in history as the goalscoring midfielder. Will his heroics ever be emulated? I highly doubt it.

Even the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have admitted their admiration for Lampard, and these are arguably two of the world's best midfielders for the last 20 years. Everybody knows that Lampard is a leader and it shows when his teammates play well around him when he's in the team. Just look at Fernando Torres; the Spaniard is a different player when he has Lampard to feed the ball into him. Lampard's self-belief and projection of confidence rubs off on the other Chelsea players, and that is an attribute that money can't buy.

Italian midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo recently admitted in The Sun that despite Lampard being a year older than him, he would love to have the 93-cap playmaker join Serie A giants Juventus. Lampard is a wanted man after Chelsea reportedly told him he will not be offered a new contract, and with ESPN reporting he has offers from USA, China, Italy and France on the table, Lampard has plenty to consider.  

For what it's worth, if Chelsea decided to dump Lampard in favor of signing an unproven, uncapped Brazilian named Taison for the same figure as they signed Lampard, you could understand if the fans became slightly disgruntled. Because that would be the day that a little part of Chelsea Football Club died.