The future of Chelsea’s Lampard and Cole
Two of Chelsea's European Champions are being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge: what does the future hold for Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole?
December 21st, 2012
Despite some rumours to the contrary, I expect neither Lampard nor Cole to move on in January. While both could sign a pre-contract deal with another side, Chelsea seem likely to block a move away for either England star because it would leave the squad too short-handed. That is where the similarity between the two England stars’ cases ends, and the prognosis for their individual Chelsea careers looks very different from May onwards.
Lampard’s Blues future looks bleak: there seems to be a belief high-up at Chelsea that, at 34, he is largely past it. To be fair, Lampard could help his cause by being willing to take a hefty pay-cut: under Financial Fair Play, any club would find it difficult to justify £160k a week expenditure for a player only likely to play one in three or four games.
Lampard seems to want both regular football, and a top-whack salary: which means a move to either the USA or Middle East is likely to be the only option. Even a side such as Paris Saint-Germain, with whom he has been linked, would be hard-pressed to take a punt given the substantial finances involved.
There seems to be an acceptance at Chelsea, however, that Ashley Cole has more left to give. Just turned 32, he is still relatively close to a prime standard of performance that sets him out as being above almost every other left-back in the Premier League.
While Chelsea now employ a 30+ policy similar to those that see Arsenal and Manchester United give only one-year extensions to senior stars, Cole’s position is strengthened by his still copious talents. His personal position is also quite different to that of Lampard’s: Frank has a cosmopolitan outlook which means he may well be interested in a move overseas for the right package; Cole is unlikely to be content moving far from his London roots.
I expect the battle over contracts to go right down to the wire, but smoke signals from both Cole and Chelsea indicate they would rather continue cohabiting, rather than launch into a messy and needless divorce just yet. Whatever the outcome, Chelsea’s final home match of the season – at home to Everton on the anniversary of the Champions League triumph in Munich – will be an emotionally-packed affair, with both stars’ futures possibly still in the balance.