35-year-old England midfielder Frank Lampard has been confirmed to leave Chelsea this summer after 13 years at Stamford Bridge since signing from West Ham in 2001.
He has won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea.
The central midfielder could be replaced by former Arsenal captain, Spain star Cesc Fabregas who is the subject of a reported £26.7 million offer from an English club. How does Fabregas compare to Lampard?
Well, it would be unfair to judge the Blues legend on his final season as he is well into the twilight of his career and Fabregas is arguably at his peak, let's take the stats from Lampard’s 2009/10 season in the Premier League at which point he was turning 31 years of age.
That season Lampard scored 22 goals and made 14 assists across 36 appearances in the league for Chelsea.
Last season Fabregas scored 8 goals and made 13 assists across 36 appearances for Barcelona in La Liga.
Whilst the goal and assists tallies are obviously different, their overall game may hint at how Fabregas could replace the outgoing legend.
Fabregas’ pass completion rate last term was 87% compared to Lampard’s 81% in 2009/10 – in fact Lampard has never achieved that level of passing accuracy across any season but he came close with 86.9% in 2011/12.
At 31 years of age, Lampard averaged 3.9 shots per game on average to Fabregas’ 1.4 shots per game last term which likely explains the England star’s higher goal tally that term but last season that fell to 2.2 shots per game which is still considerably higher than Fabregas’.
That season Lampard averaged 3.2 key passes per game but last season that fell to 1.3 per game whilst Fabregas averaged 1.6 key passes per game last season. Lampard has never averaged more than 56.5 passes on average per game in any season with the Blues whilst Fabregas averaged 60.7 passes per game last season.
In terms of passing, it’s clear that Fabregas is not only the more accurate and efficient in possession but also the more dynamic, whilst Lampard undoubtedly has the greater threat in the final third in terms of shots and goals.
Defensively, across all of his seasons since 2009/10 Lampard has averaged 1.7 tackles per game to Fabregas’ 1.3 per game last term. Lampard also made the greater number of interceptions, clearances and blocks overall compared to his Spanish counterpart as well as conceding fewer fouls on average.
Overall, the two central midfielders function in slightly different roles and thus they excel in slightly different areas of performance. Fabregas would not represent a like-for-like replacement for Lampard but he would undoubtedly offer a similar threat going forward in terms of his scoring and creation of goals with the Spaniard undoubtedly the more efficient provider and the Blues man the more dangerous when he gets his shot away.
Defensively, Lampard is the more responsible but that could also be due to the difference in the style of play of Chelsea and Barcelona – Barcelona take the overwhelming majority of possession in games which tends to skew the figures for tackling, for example, as fewer tackles are necessary when you have possession of the ball.
Interestingly, although Lampard undoubtedly has the better record in terms of goals per season, Fabregas actually has the higher finishing accuracy of the pair.
53% of Lampard’s shots were on target last term to Fabregas’ 63% which would suggest that, given the opportunity to get in the box, the Spaniard could potentially score the number of goals Lampard has down the years for Chelsea.