Chelsea fans' hopes of Frank Lampard being offered a deal to keep him at the club until the end of his career are fading fast. The club's short-sighted policy of not offering players over 30 any more than a one-year extension to their current contracts looks likely to see off one of their greatest servants of recent years.
Lampard is currently the second-highest goal scorer in the club's 108-year history, and he needs seven more to overtake Bobby Tambling's record of 202 goals for Chelsea. As the first-choice penalty taker he could get that number this season, although if he falls short it will not be through lack of trying.
The man the fans call "Super Frank" scored 20 goals or more every season between 2005-06 and 2009-10, an amazing feat from a box-to-box midfielder. He has also amassed 130 assists throughout his Chelsea career and captained the side to their greatest victory ever in the Champions League Final in 2012.
His work rate is second to none, and he often stays behind for extra work after a training session. It is this dedication along with his respect for the club and its fans that have led him to acquire legendary status in West London, despite his roots at West Ham.
Although Ashley Cole has been offered an extension to his current deal, Lampard looks set for an exit at the end of the season even though he has offered to take a pay cut. This will leave Chelsea with a gaping hole in their midfield, and although there will be nobody who can replace Lampard in the hearts of the fans, whoever is in charge of the team in the summer could do a lot worse than look at these five players to fill the void on the pitch.