The Andy Gray Column: Let’s be Frank – Lampard should stay

Summary: ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to SWLondoner…


I CAN’T quite understand Chelsea’s desire to offload Frank Lampard at the end of the season – he still has a role to play at the club, both on the field and off of it.

It goes without saying that Lampard has earned himself an incredible legacy at Stamford Bridge, and it’s well deserved. He’s been a fantastic servant to that football club and it would be strange without him there.

I know Chelsea have this policy of only offering one-year deals to players once they turn 30 but that is missing the point when it comes to Lampard.

He is a leader, as he has exemplified time and time again during his career – especially during the Champions League semi-final and final – and the Blues are missing a trick if they offload him because they will only replace him with young, raw talent.

One of Arsenal’s big failings has been a lack of experience to balance out the tremendous talent they have in their young team.

It would be a grave error for Chelsea if they made the same mistake. Ashley Cole and John Terry are also approaching the same decision – they need to retain some of these names for the benefit of their new signings.

Lampard, especially, is a great character for young players to look up to – much like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at Man United. The fact that Sir Alex Ferguson has kept those two on for so many years shows you the value of keeping older players around, and no United fan would disagree.

What I love about Frank is his passion and his work ethic. No player at Chelsea has a greater knowledge or respect for the history of the club, you can see it when he’s interviewed – he will be genuinely humbled to take the place of Kerry Dixon in the record books and that speaks volumes about his personality and character.

He comes in and time and time again he will grab a goal when Chelsea need him to, while also being that rock in the middle of the park.

He’s been there for ten years and he’s become synonymous with everything it stands for and he has to be applauded for that.

In terms of him moving on, if that does happen I think he could do a job for a lot of teams in the Premier League – if he becomes available this summer I think there will be a monumental scrap for him because he’d be a prized asset.

If he wants to stay in London there’s QPR, who have the money, and Arsenal or Tottenham, who might want to take a punt – though I can’t imagine a top-six side having a genuine interest.

I can see a club with money getting hold of him and with Harry Redknapp now in charge at Loftus Road that could well be a viable destination for Lampard to end up at.

 It certainly isn’t beyond the realms of possibility because Redknapp is family, he started his career with him and the attraction of staying in the Premier League and staying in London might be a very appealing one.

Certainly this interest linking him to Manchester United seems ridiculous. What does Sir Alex Ferguson need with a 34-year-old midfielder? He already has a veteran in the centre of the park; I can’t see him splashing the cash for another one.

Who knows, maybe Lampard will want to follow David Beckham’s example and play abroad? Wherever he goes he will certainly be a popular signing and I think if Chelsea do lose the fight to keep hold of him they may well live to regret it further down the line.

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