Following the news that the Chelsea midfielder will remain at Stamford Bridge next season, Vincent Ralph questions the length of his new deal.
“I couldn’t be happier.”
Those were the words of Frank Lampard after being given a new one-year contract at Chelsea.
Well, Frank. I’m sorry to burst your bubble. But you could be happier. They could have given you a deal you deserve.
At 34, I am well aware that Lampard is no spring-chicken. But his form this season suggests it is going to be a little while yet before he is put out to pasture.
While his club initially told him he was on the move, then dallied over a possible deal, before finally handing him a contract, Lampard got on with his job. In fact he didn’t just get on with it, he excelled.
15 Premier League goals from 20 starts and 8 substitute appearances is good for a striker. For a midfielder, it is outstanding. This has also been the England international’s most prolific league season since 2010.
Back then he scored 22 goals in 36 games. The following season that dropped to 10 in 24 (in part due to injury). And in the last campaign he found the net 11 times in 30 league matches.
So despite getting older, he is no less prolific. In fact his form in the midst of uncertainty has been admirable and has played no small part in Chelsea’s fine end to the season.
So after months of negotiations the club have made him a promise for an additional 12 months. There is an argument to say he shouldn’t have signed it.
Of course he loves Chelsea and would never wish to leave. But regardless of the reason for the offer – either the imminent return of Jose Mourinho or just because Roman Abramovich realised his potential gaffe – it should have been longer. And when it wasn’t, Lampard should have played hard-ball.
After signing the contract, Lampard said, “I love this club, the staff, the players and especially the supporters, who have treated me fantastically since the day I arrived. The thought of helping the club to more success in the forthcoming years is all I ever wanted.”
In a season when players have shown what they can achieve despite approaching 40, Lampard will be hoping the “years” he talks of are all spent at Stamford Bridge.
But while the offer of a rolling-contract may be in the background, a longer deal would have shown the player and the wider footballing community how much Chelsea value their record goal-scorer.
He has clearly jogged the hierarchy’s memory in recent months. But should it really have needed jogging in the first place?
Do you think Lampard deserved a longer contract? And how long can he continue playing for Chelsea?
image: © Ben Sutherland