Very exciting times at the moment! Though nothing has been made official so far, the rumoured finalising of the deals for Hulk and Eden Hazard to come to Chelsea has rightly got every supporter upbeat and optimistic for next season. For the club to make two such massive signings this early in the summer represents a statement of intent that we were desperate to see, after all the mediocrity that frequented this last league campaign. For these signings to happen after such a successful ending to the year however, can only enhance enthusiasm within the fan base.
One problem though in my opinion about these deals is the attention they’ve taken away from the terrible news that came from England’s camp for the Euro’s this week. Frank Lampard has strained his thigh in training and will not be able to compete in the tournament.
Personally, as an Englishman, this is obviously a huge disappointment with regards to its impact on the team’s chances. In terms of what he offers, Frank is more than just one of the greatest midfielders England has ever had, but he was also one of the few squad members taking with him some form from the end of the club season. He also would’ve taken with him the confidence of a newly crowned Champions League winner, whilst at 34; he would’ve been a valuable source of experience and knowledge in a team with a relatively low average age. And just to add insult to injury, Lampard’s replacement is Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, who although has looked promising at times, quite simply isn’t good enough and isn’t ready to play for England.
As bad as this is for the England camp however, the injury will be a far bigger blow to Frank personally, as this competition probably represented his final opportunity to play for England at a major tournament. With the overhaul of the national side practically being demanded by fans and journalists, all so desperate to see the back of this ‘Golden Generation’ of talent – I wouldn’t be surprised if this setback precipitated Lamps’ forced retirement from international football. Limited opportunities at Chelsea next year won’t help his case either.
My biggest concern though, if Frank is forced to retire, is that his departure will take place with the inexplicable disregard that the country has afforded him his entire career. I’m not suggesting that his talent’s and achievements haven’t received appropriate recognition, but when you consider other England midfield legends i.e. Bryan Robson, Paul Gascoigne, Kevin Keegan, Paul Ince, Steven Gerrard etc, none of them really come close to Frank in terms of goals scored in top flight football and yet he is hardly, if ever, mentioned in the same breath as those players by writers or non-Chelsea supporters. I’m dreading the prospect of Lampard being allowed to fade away, being thought of as an average England player, when in my eyes, he is the best English goal-scoring midfielder to have lived since the great Bobby Charlton.
If Roy Hodgson does decide this is the end for Lampard then I’d really like him to get a proper send off. A friendly against a top side at Wembley should be organised so Frank can lead England out as captain and leave to a standing ovation towards the end. Whether this’ll happen however – I am extremely doubtful.
All we want now from Frank is to rest his legs and make sure his injury is completely cleared for the start of next season. We know he isn’t guaranteed a starting place at Chelsea by any means, but his influence on the side and ability to put away another 15-20 goals should never be in doubt for a second. I think he is only 16 goals away from overtaking Bobby Tambling as our all-time highest scorer – I’d love to see him do it next season.
One Chelsea news story that doesn’t tug on the heart-strings in quite the same way is the releasing of Jose Bosingwa and Saloman Kalou from the club this week, following the expiration of their contracts. Obviously we wish them both the best wherever they go, but I don’t think there’s much doubt that they were necessary departures in this summer’s anticipated renovation of the first team. Marko Mitrovic and Rhys Taylor were also released.
Bosingwa joined the club under Filipe Scolari and initially, he looked like a decent attacking full-back and a potential long-term replacement for Paulo Ferreira. He suffered a bad knee-injury though at the end of his first season and since then, in all honesty, has been consistently poor in defence and in going forward; his presence in the back line was always a cause for concern in my mind. There seems to be a fair amount of debate at present as to whether or not we need a replacement for Bosingwa, with Gregory Van Der Wiel’s name being mentioned a lot. Personally I don’t think we do need a replacement, we have a world-class right back in Branislav Ivanovic and adequate cover for that position in David Luiz and Paulo Ferreira – I also don’t want to see the promotion of Todd Kane hindered in any way, who in my eyes has the potential to surpass the majority of players we’ve been linked with in his position.
Saloman Kalou joins Bosingwa on the free transfer list after six years with the club. Despite scoring dozens of valuable goals for Chelsea (mainly as a substitute) he never managed to cement a place in the starting XI, nevertheless he still leaves with an impressive record of 60 goals and 40 assists in 244 games, with his last goal being the match winner against Benfica in the UCL ¼ finals.
I am definitely with the consensus on these two players in that their departure was necessary and to be expected. At the same time I’m very pleased at the way they got to leave the club and I’m proud of the performances they put in against Bayern in the final – they both deserved their winner’s medals and to be part of that amazing moment.
Good luck to them both once again. KTBFFH