In the run up to the game, current West Ham midfielder Gary O’Neil told The Sun that he would love to see Lampard back at Upton Park donning the claret and blue once again. But would Lampard be welcome?
Are you on Facebook? Excellent, so are we http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/ForeverWestHamcom/200938616608282
Speculation over where the England international will be playing next season has been rife since Chelsea made it apparent in December that they would not be offering Lampard a new deal once his current one expires in the summer.
Although there have been reports that the Blues have come to their senses and plan to retain Lampard’s services, an agreement is yet to be reached and the clock is ticking.
O’Neil, for one, is shocked by Lampard’s current situation and is open to the idea of him returning to play for the Hammers.
“It’s surprising that a player of that stature and quality is being allowed to run out his contract,” he said.
“If the money was right and the deal was right, he’s a player I would love to see back at West Ham. He would be a great player to sign if the club could get hold of him.”
But would he?
Lampard is undoubtedly an excellent player, even at the age of 34, and he has to be one of the most talented footballers to come out of West Ham’s prestigious Academy. He has proven himself to be a lethal goalscorer time and again, and the world and his wife know West Ham could do with someone who can find the net regularly. But there are so many potential problems that could arise from bringing Lampard back.
Forever West Ham is now on Google+, so be sure to find us on there by quite simply (and rather unsurprisingly) searching ‘Forever West Ham’
The first of those would be money. Lampard currently picks up a reputed £150,000 per week at Chelsea – someone of his expertise and experience does not offer their services for mere pennies. West Ham would, therefore, have to pay a not so small fortune to convince Lampard to return to the club for whom he said in 2001 he would not play again.
Imagine that West Ham actually have that kind of money and can somehow persuade Lampard to come back to Upton Park, despite all the abuse he has had to endure from the Hammers fans since he left for Chelsea … where will he actually fit in?
The obvious place for him is the attacking midfield role that Kevin Nolan fills (when he is fit). Lampard is a better player than Nolan and would surely score more goals in his favoured position, but Nolan is club captain and Sam Allardyce’s enforcer. West Ham fans cannot seriously believe for a second that Big Sam would leave Nolan on the bench. Especially when you consider that Nolan, despite being 30 years old himself, is rumoured to pick up £50k per week – frighteningly high wages for a player at a club of West Ham’s stature. He would be the most expensive bench-warmer West Ham have ever had.
The only alternative is dropping Nolan or Lampard back to fill a gap that is likely to be left by Mohamed Diame, who is expected to leave the Boleyn Ground at some point in the near future. Then, with Lampard, Nolan and Mark Noble; West Ham’s midfield would be as slow as Chelsea are at keeping their best players.
But what if Diame doesn’t leave? What if Allardyce doesn’t get a new contract? What if West Ham are not even in the Premier League next season?
It’s possible to speculate forever about Lampard being a Hammer again, but the truth of the matter is that he would never want to play for West Ham – the only club whose fans still put the ‘Junior’ in his name and call him ‘Fat Frank’.
Looking for experience? Just want to be heard outside of the Boleyn? We are currently looking for writers, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
Although some do not hold a grudge, factions of the Claret and Blue Army will never forgive Lampard for turning his back on West Ham. This was displayed by the coins and hotdogs launched in his direction when he celebrated that milestone goal for Chelsea on Sunday. His presence rouses a lot of anger among many Hammers supporters.
Lampard returning to West Ham is a move that neither parties would really welcome.
Follow me on Twitter: @JoellBlogs