May 15, 2013, 4:35 PM EDT
According to reports out of England, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who had been touted as a potential Designated Player signing by the LA Galaxy, will sign a one-year extension that will prolong his tenure at Stamford Bridge. The 34-year-old England international, who adorned the Blues’ armband as his side took the field in Amsterdam today for the Europa League final, recently became the club’s all-time leading scorer, a stature he’ll now carry into a 13th season at the club.
As much as this will be perceived as a blow to the Galaxy, it was the most-logical outcome for a player who has scored 17 goals in 48 all-competition appearances this season. Chelsea, who apparently wanted to firm-up their managerial picture before committing to the icon, were not going to be his only option. If he wanted to stay in England, there was always the likelihood Lampard would find another top team, with fits and Manchester City and (especially) United always making sense.
Ultimately, the most likely scenario played out. Lampard, giving his team little reason to move on, will stay in West London. His wages will be reduced, as will his playing time, but those never appeared to be major obstacles. As his role in the team has changed, Lampard seems to have become accustomed to his new place at Stamford Bridge. He’s doesn’t have a marquee role or the wages that come with it. He knows his best days are behind him.
That status lent many to believe he was on his way to Major League Soccer, but there perhaps should have been a bit more circumspection, even if some stars were beginning to line up. LA may have wanted Lampard, and the Chelsea star may have considered it a possibility, but he always had options. If the door was open at Old Trafford, he wasn’t going to LA. If Eastlands had a place for him, the Galaxy would have to wait. And if Chelsea changed course, Lampard was staying home. A number of things would have had to fall into place before Lampard landed at Home Depot Center. Not surprisingly, it looks like it hasn’t worked out.
That doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. The reason this new deal was possible is because Lampard is still capable of contributing at the highest level. When that fades, he’ll be able to come and contribute in MLS, just as Robbie Keane has been a star after his EPL options faded.
It may not happen soon, but Lampard could still end up in MLS. Next year, however, he’ll be in West London.
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