Officials at Chelsea have come into a lot of criticism recently for their reluctance to offer Frank Lampard a new contract. The Soccer Sphere, however, believes that they made the right decision. The sensible option for Chelsea would be to NOT offer Frank Lampard a new contract; Chelsea should release Frank Lampard. There are two reasons for this; firstly Lampard is declining as a footballer and will continue to do so until eventually he will be of no use to Chelsea FC; and secondly Lampard represent a significant financial burden for the club and as UEFA’s financial fair play rules come into effect he will become a luxury they cannot afford.
Footballers have a lifespan and at the age of 34 Lampard is probably nearing the end of his. While there is evidence that player’s technical ability does not decrease with age it is a fact that he will physically deteriorate; he will be slower than younger players, he won’t be able to travel as far in games, and he will be more injury prone. This will mean that, although when he plays he might be a productive, he make fewer appearance and more of them will come from the bench. This is already happening, if he continues to play in a similar rate of games in the second of half of the 2012/13 season as the first half he will make 30-something appearances for Chelsea in all competitions for the season, significantly less than last year’s appearance total, and also significantly less than his career average.
An ageing player, who is a club legend, does not necessarily mean that the player must be shunted out the door, but when they are one of the top earners at the club it does confuse the situation. Currently, it is speculated that, Lampard is being paid £150,000 a week, even if he were to take a pay cut it is unlikely that this figure could be reduced by much (especially if you consider signing on, appearance and performance based bonuses that are likely to be included in the contract). This is the main issue that Chelsea should have with offering Lampard a new contract. Simply put, Frank Lampard does not represent market value for the wage that he will demand and, leaving all sentimentality aside, if you want to operate a football club in anything resembling a responsible financial manner you cannot afford to do this.
This is a particularly significant issue for Chelsea as they are already overpaying a number of players at their club, in relation to the market value of what similar players produce, namely these are: Fernando Torres, John Terry and Ashley Cole (in the opinion of The Soccer Sphere the only player that plays enough and produces at a high enough standard to justify an inflated super-wage, at Chelsea, is Juan Mata). At this point it has to be noted that of course Roman Abramovich could afford to pay these players, but this does not necessarily mean that he should just for the sake of appeasing some sentimental fans who want to relive the mid-2000s glory days.
A final issue that Chelsea may soon have to contend with are UEFA’s financial fair play rules. Assuming that UEFA actually tries to enforce them (which it potentially may not happen) teams are expected to have not lost more than 45million euros between the 2011/12 season and the start of the 2014/15 season and subsequently be able to operate without losing more than 8.8million euros a season. If Chelsea do not want to suffer a penalty (what the penalty is still hasn’t really been decided yet) they need to cut their expenditure and, unfortunately for Frank Lampard fans, he is one of the logical choices to be cut from the teams wage bill. Whilst the idea of Frank Lampard seeing out his days as a Chelsea player is a romantic one, in today’s business motivated footballing environment Lampard is an expense that Chelsea could do without, therefore The Soccer Sphere believes Chelsea are right and he should not be offered a new contract.