Why Chelsea Must Hand John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole New Deals

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2014

B/R

After breaking his promise that Chelsea would not be making any new signings in the January transfer window, Chelsea's Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry must be hoping Jose Mourinho doesn't go back on his word again.

The Blues have already snapped up Nemanja Matic for £22 million from Benfica and The Sun (access via a paywall) newspaper reports they are ready to offer contract extensions to their trio of veterans, who will all be free agents come July.

It's not only the players who will be hoping that remains the case, but Chelsea fans also. And they would be right to insist the club maintains their services.

Forget for a moment their status as legends at Stamford Bridge, that they have won everything in English and European football. Forget even that they have a combined 287 international caps between them; Cole, Lampard and Terry still have plenty to offer this Chelsea team.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Daniel Sturridge, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, John Terry and Frank Lampard celebrate with the trophy during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 5, 2012 in London, England.
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The struggles of Arsenal in the past decade are enough to outline the perils of letting experienced stars leave too early.

It's no coincidence that since Patrick Vieira departed North London for Juventus in 2005, the Gunners have not lifted a trophy.

Arsene Wenger was too eager to blood his young and, as a result, his team suffered considerably.

From once being the playground bully, without Vieira and Arsenal's other experienced stars around them, the tables were well and truly turned.

Suddenly it was the Gunners being brushed aside in matches. At times, it was literally men against boys.

Only now has Wenger's team recovered, sustaining their most promising title challenge for a considerable time.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MARCH 22:  John Terry warms up with team mates Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere and Wayne Rooney during the England training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Wales, at London Colney on March 22, 2011 in
Michael Regan/Getty Images

If Chelsea go down the same route, allowing their experienced players to leave, they will suffer a similar fate.

Mourinho is wiser than that, though. The Portuguese is all too aware of what it takes to lift trophies in England and he knows the remaining trio from his initial spell in charge, along with Petr Cech, are too valuable to let go.

Make no mistake, when their time comes, the Portuguese isn't sentimental enough to keep Cole, Lampard and Terry among his number. He will make the tough decision when necessary, only right now that moment is some way off.

The form of Terry this season has shown us that. The Blues captain is the leading defender in English football, showing that at 33 years old, he is every bit the player who helped inspire Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006.

LONDON - MAY 06:  Jose Mourinho manager of Chelsea embraces John Terry and Frank Lampard following the Barclays Premiership match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on May 6, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Such has been his return to form, there is even growing support for him to be reinstated to England's squad for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

Cole may have endured somewhat different fortunes—a loss of form seeing him replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta at left-back.

Since Cole's return to the starting line-up, however, he is looking more like the player we've seen throughout his career. He still has a long way to go to reach that level, yet he has shown he is still capable.

The Blues also have their eyes on Southampton's Luke Shaw as his long-term replacement, according to The Telegraph. If they prove successful in their pursuit, who better to help the 18-year-old get to grips with life at an elite club?

And as for Lampard, he continues to defy logic, still scoring goals and adding to his current tally for the club that extends his standing as the all-time goalscorer at Stamford Bridge.

There's too much experience, talent and character in Cole, Lampard and Terry for Chelsea to consider letting them leave.

The club has already made a smart move in bringing Matic back to West London. Now's the time to make sure the Serbian remains surrounded by some familiar faces next season.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes