The 2013-14 season is officially over, and thoughts at Chelsea have turned to the transfer window. While the focus will rightly be on acquiring a new striker, there is a big question mark hanging over the futures of two of the club’s veterans.
Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are both nearing the end of their contracts with the club. Their deals officially expire on June 1, and there are doubts as to whether they will both be offered another year at Stamford Bridge.
With Financial Fair Play kicking in, Chelsea cannot afford to have any unnecessary players on the books. Considering John Terry’s recent deal which keeps him on a salary close to £175,000 a week, per The Guardian, it may be the case that only one of Lampard and Cole can stay. So, who should the board keep?
Lampard has spent the last 13 years at Stamford Bridge, working tirelessly to become the club’s top goalscorer. According to WhoScored.com, Super Frank made 37 appearances for the Blues this season, eight of those from the bench.
Despite the decline in fitness that comes from being 35 years old and playing against players 10 or 15 years your junior, Lampard registered seven goals and five assists in the Premier League and Champions League. He also averaged two shots and 1.3 key passes per game.
Due to some niggling injuries, as well as the excellent form and adaptability of Cesar Azpilicueta, Cole only featured in 22 games this season. He has never been a prolific goalscorer, but he managed to get two assists and averaged one key pass per game played. Despite spending several months on the bench, he kept working hard in training and was in top-form when called upon in the latter stages of the season.
Within the context of Financial Fair Play, both players are on similar deals. According to the We Ain’t Got No History wage database, Lampard takes home £125,000 per week, with Cole on £120,000. That negligible difference means that any decision must factor in the roles they have within the squad.
Cole is certainly in the twilight of his career, but the form he showed in the matches against Liverpool and Atletico Madrid show that he still has a year or two at the top left in him. However, Lampard has been in decline for a year or more, and it is difficult to see him continuing to compete at the level Chelsea need to be at.
Both players have enormous potential to influence the young eggs in the Chelsea squad. Lampard in particular should be the poster boy for success through hard work and dedication, but if he is offered a new deal, it should be as a player-coach to mentor the younger members of the team.
Meanwhile, Cole should remain as a key player within the squad. He will undoubtedly play less, but his presence as a mentor for the future left-back will be crucial to Jose Mourinho’s dynasty.