Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has suggested that he believes the rumours linking both Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole with an exit door at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season could be true.
Neither player has managed to agree an extension at the west London club and both are free to discuss their futures with other clubs this winter as their respective contracts expire at the end of the season. It has long been speculated that the duo will walk at the end of the season, it was an issue that Roberto Di Matteo had previously refused to be drawn on but Benitez admitted they will likely move on.
The former Valencia manager said:
“I think so. I think that’s the case at the moment.
“I don’t have all the information, but it’s not fair to tell me I’m only here for seven months and then expect me to have an influence at the club over the next two or three years.”
Both player are held in high regard by the club’s fans, especially as they have won all there is to win with the club and Lampard currently sits as Chelsea’s third all-time leading goal scorer with 189 goals, and both of them have engraved their names on the club’s permanent history. Naturally, Benitez’s words have upset those that would rather not see the back of two of their favourites, especially as Cole is still just 31 and many argue he’s deserving of a multi-year deal.
However, this is nothing to do with Benitez at all. He has no say over the destiny of these players aside from whether or not he’s going to pick them between now and the summer to play in the first team. This is an issue that’s between Chelsea and the duo concerned.
In the case of Lampard, he’s 34 and on lucrative wages, so it doesn’t make any sort of sense to offer him anything more than a year and I doubt he’d want to go down the road that Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have done at Manchester United by rolling their contracts on a year-by-year basis. It’s also no coincidence that David Beckham has left LA Galaxy to make way for him, as I reckon there’s an agreement in place and it seems as though the England midfielder wants to see out his days in LA. It’s an attractive lifestyle and he’d be on great money, so I respect his choice.
Then there’s Cole. The only reasons the club may not want to offer him more than a one-year deal would be down to concerns over his ankles or they consider his reputation as a negative equity, it’s more than likely that they’re worried about his fitness though and as a smoker, is he going to have the longevity that Lampard has enjoyed? I don’t know. But like Lampard, Cole may be seeking a new challenge and it looks as though it’s going to be at PSG, it’s just irritating that these players tend to walk for nothing.