Feb 11, 2013, 11:21 AM EDT
Back in December, Chelsea management informed us that Frank Lampard, practically an institution around Stamford Bridge, was in his last months with the club. Chelsea would not, officials said, offer the longtime English international a new deal.
For whatever reason, Chelsea officials said it again a few days later, presumably closing the barn door on this one once and for all. Lampard absolutely, positively would not be coming back to Stamford Bridge. His 12-year run in West London will soon be kaput. For sure.
Except now comes the backpedaling. Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez seemed to stick his foot in this door, leaving it open for ongoing review.
Smart move, because Lampard, 34, is in stunning form. He has nine goals in Chelsea’s last 14 games, which would be robust production for a striker. Lampard is a central midfielder for Pete’s sake! He also scored in England’s win last week over Brazil, adding another layer into the discussion.
Now let’s connect the dots back to Los Angeles and MLS, long thought to be on the man’s short list of next stops.
That eventuality is beginning to drift from view.
First game the Roy Hodgson blow; the England manager warned that a move to the States could prove toxic to Lampard’s international status. Ouch.
With yet another goal over the weekend (in Chelsea’s 4-1 win over Wigan), pressure will continue to grow around Stamford Bridge to extend their longtime club cornerstone. Even if Chelsea holds the line, suitors will be increasingly lining up to squeeze another year or two from Lampard’s leadership and talent, which does not seem to be waning.
His first choice would clearly be remaining at Chelsea, and those chances are improving. Meanwhile, a growing roster of Plan B options will continue to dilute his chances of landing in Southern California.
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