“Lampard has been unbelievable,” stated Ferguson.
“The guy has had a great career. I must say we looked at him when he was at West Ham as a young player and I maybe regret not having done it. Where else could I get 200 goals?”
Whilst I wouldn’t bank on it, perhaps Ferguson’s regret could inspire him to offer the Blues veteran a contract with United this summer as Chelsea still have yet to tie up the 34-year-old’s future.
I wrote earlier in the year about the incredible service Lampard had given to Chelsea, compared with United veterans like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs who, along with numerous others over the years, have made Old Trafford their retirement homes.
Chelsea’s loss could very well be United’s gain – Lampard is still fit as a fiddle and, as Ferguson rightly points out, he’s certainly not past it just yet.
Lampard is the same age as United veteran Rio Ferdinand who also came up through the ranks at West Ham and the United defender certainly seems to have plenty of gas left in the tank yet.
Where United value experience and continuity between the generations – it’s part of their ethos – Chelsea in the last decade prefer a continuous cycle of personnel, almost like ‘fast-food’ football. Big stars come in, some burn bright, some burn out but eventually they are shown the exit door at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard’s loyalty to the club and the fans has never been in question – the question, however, remains about whether the club and its owner requite that love and admiration.
Ferguson may regret not having capitalized on Lampard’s talent and potential at a young age but there is the possibility that he could capitalize on his experience now.
He may not score another 200 goals but he’d be a valuable asset on the pitch, in the dressing room and in training – the consummate professional who could provide a fantastic example of discipline and professionalism to the younger generation – the likes of Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Nick Powell.
He’s set to leave Chelsea on a free transfer this summer and, whilst I suspect he’ll end up at LA Galaxy, the temptation of a move to the Premier League champions would be hard to resist for any player. The only issue would be his heart, which, unequivocally, belongs to Chelsea. He is Blues, through and through.