If the latest rumour about his availability is true, it might be the worst one of the entire transfer period for Chelsea faithful. Manchester United is lurking in the wings, and the club is apparently trying to make Lampard its latest transfer addition.
If the money is right, Man U should make this deal.
According to Neil Custis of The Sun, Manchester United is interested in bringing the legendary midfielder to Old Trafford. The news can't come as anything but a blow below the belt to the Blues, but it appears there is mutual interest on both sides.
Here's an excerpt from the earlier report:
It is unlikely a deal will be done this month—when a fee would be involved—while Lampard is also keen to see out the rest of the season at Stamford Bridge.
Here's another excerpt—this one from The Guardian's Barney Roney—who wants very much to believe that the current interest is true:
The Mill desperately wants to believe the news in this morning's Sun that Sir Alex Ferguson wants to sign Frank Lampard, who will be available on a free in the summer. Not content with one superannuated ex-England midfielder, Ferguson has offered Lampard a one-year deal and remains "convinced he can still do a job at the very highest level."
Not only is Lampard a crafty veteran with experience, he's also the consummate professional, making fast friends and fans with the Blues do to his work-hard attitude and ability to score quickly from his midfield position.
As noted by the Chelsea's official Twitter account today, Lampard is also climbing the all-time scoring list, even at his ripe old age of 34:
Frank Lampard has made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Mata had been fouled. He is clear as second highest scorer on 194. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) January 12, 2013
That kind of scoring presence and leadership could do Man U wonders, even though they currently hold the top standing in the Premier League rankings and don't look likely to give it up any time soon.
However, with the reality setting in that Chelsea would want to make this a big transfer fee and Lampard not ready to jump ship without a proper goodbye in the form of one last run, United needs to both make sure the price is right and that Lampard is the right man to anchor the midfield at Old Trafford.
Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins thinks so. In a recent report by BBC, Wilkins has a glowing recommendation for Lampard to move on and do great things with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "You have the master of utilizing the older player in Sir Alex Ferguson, so I think it would be a tremendous move for Frank and a good one for Manchester United as well.''
There are concerns about Lampard's ability to continue to play at a high level, as there should be. In any sport, when an athlete hits the wall, he hits it hard, and sometimes the wall sneaks up like a snake in the grass.
But given this season's performances for the Blues and their expressed desire to let him find a new place to call home, I don't see why Manchester United shouldn't take a low-risk flyer on a guy who has been an EPL legend for quite some time.
Whether the Red Devils join the pursuit party in the summer or in the next few days before the window closes, they must ensure that both the money is right and Lampard can handle switching clubs yet again after a long stint with the Blues.
Don't forget the expressed interest of other clubs, either, including MLS juggernaut L.A. Galaxy and teams from other countries like AC Milan. As Ian Abrahams reports, the chase for Lampard might run through California.
Transfers - Man U are seriously looking at Frank Lampard, but I've said since day 1 I've been told he'll go to LA Galaxy
— Ian Abrahams (@BroadcastMoose) January 9, 2013
That makes sense, as the Galaxy has a huge hole to fill without David Beckham in the fold and money to spare.
However, if the chase for Lampard heats up in the PL, expect Man U to be right in the middle of the action. It's a great fit for both parties, and a crushing blow to Chelsea at the same time.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.