So Frank Lampard will be going to the United States after all. But not for a new life with LA Galaxy but with Chelsea next week on tour for two exhibition games with Manchester City.
Of all football’s soap operas, the Frank Lampard leaving Chelsea one had become the most absurd.
Today the 34-year-old put an end to it by signing on the dotted line and agreeing to stay at the club for another 12 months. Perhaps, in trademark fashion, he raised his hands skywards and looked up to heaven when the deal was done. Surely it was better than just scoring another goal.
It has been quite a week for Lampard. First the two goals to eclipse Bobby Tambling and establish a new club record of 203 goals. Next a starting place and captain’s armband in the Europa League final against Benfica, a game he almost won before Branislav Ivanovic with a ferocious dipping shot which left the crossbar quivering. And now the new deal.
For Lampard there will perhaps be a quiet satisfaction that he has outlasted Rafa Benitez, the manager who has challenged his traditional position as automatic first-team pick. And there will almost certainly now be a reunion with Jose Mourinho, who will almost certainly have been consulted about the decision to extend the contract to the eve of the player's 36th birthday.
The logic of not giving him a new deal always seemed flawed because Chelsea are a more potent force with him in the side than out.
It says much for his belief in himself that he has held his own in a dazzling midfield which included such talents as Eden Hazard, Oscar and Ramirez.
But, the week after Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Chelsea finally seem to have come round to the old man’s thinking. Ferguson, aware that age is more in the head than the legs, has extracted every last drop of talent out of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes and Mourinho clearly wants to do the same with Lampard. Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: “Frank has been an important player for Chelsea for a long time and has played a significant part in the club’s success. We have been talking to him since the end of last year and our discussions have been entirely positive throughout.
“We are delighted we are now announcing an extension to his contract which will keep him at the club until 2014.”
Lampard’s future may be more of a bench player, but Mourinho will know better than anyone how to make that work.Reuse content