Frank Lampard proved in the second half of last season that he can still contribute a lot to Chelsea, scoring vital goals to help the Blues secure a Champions League place for next season and win the Europa League.
The England international signed a one-year extension to remain at the Blues after protracted talks with the club and has already discussed staying beyond this time.
Lampard told the London Evening Standard: “I want it to continue for as long as possible. I’d love to be part of the next few years at Chelsea." So although Lampard feels that he is capable of replicating his outstanding form over the past couple of season for a little longer, Chelsea will be carefully considering how to replace the club's all-time top goalscorer.
The Blues are looking to assemble a side that will integrate a trio of attacking midfielders that can move fluidly in behind a lone striker and alternate between each role, which reduces Chelsea's reliance on a player of Lampard's ilk, who will not—in theory—have the burden of scoring the bulk of the side's goals each season.
Chelsea will instead look for Lampard to contribute, at times, in a deeper role as one of the two holding midfielders.
Jose Mourinho's impending return to the club promises more tactical diversity for the Blues moving forward, as the Portuguese manager has recently embraced the 4-2-3-1 at Real Madrid, but tended to opt for a 4-3-3 mostly during his first spell at Stamford Bridge.
Therefore, a player of Lampard's ilk will be key to Mourinho being able to revert to a 4-3-3, especially against tough European opposition away from home, when the object of the game will be to constrain the opposition.
While Chelsea have not been linked with the player for many years, Lazio midfielder Hernanes would be a perfect choice to offer such diversity to the Blues over the coming years.
Thought to be ambidextrous due to such comfort to pass the ball both short and long with either foot, Hernanes also possesses similar qualities to Lampard.
The Lazio midfielder has that willingness to drive his side from defence to attack in transition and also has deadly accuracy when shooting from distance—again, with either foot.
With a tendency to switch roles during the game, Hernanes is a manager's dream and will be able to be a key player no matter the approach of his side, both in a defensive or attacking sense.
The 28-year-old has been consistent ever since moving to Serie A, scoring 12, 11 and 14 in the three seasons since moving from Sao Paulo. Considering how Edy Reja and Vladimir Petkovic have both used him in a defensive manner often enough, that is a fine goalscoring return in a league that is particularly tough to score in.
While Hernanes is well into the prime of his career, the array of skills that he can offer would mean that Chelsea would be able to receive a good return off a potential investment.
So, while there is not a feeling of desperation to replace Lampard immediately, Chelsea might look to be canny in the transfer market and provide the new manager with a potential replacement for Lampard, as that type of player is not present in the squad right now.
After inspiring Lazio to a Coppa Italia victory, Hernanes might garner some attention from clubs looking to prize him away from the Albiceleste and Chelsea would be a great fit, ensuring there is a ready-made replacement for Lampard for the future.