Is Frank Lampard China-bound?

Shaun Botterill

According to the Mirror, reports in China are indicating that Frank Lampard could be on his way to Guizhou Renhe, with the owner (I think this is Dia Yongge, but I'm not 100 percent sure) apparently telling a state journalist that a deal to acquire the midfielder had already been worked out. It's very difficult to verify this sort of thing, and I don't have any familiarity with the trustworthiness of these sources,

But it would certainly make sense on some levels. Lampard is an international star, the sort of player that the Chinese Super League is snapping up. Chelsea have not been averse to letting elderly players go in the past, and Lampard doesn't have long left on his current deal.

On the other hand, it's far from clear how wise this would be. With John Obi Mikel playing for Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations, Chelsea would have just Lampard, Ramires and Oriol Romeu as first-team players capable of playing in the double pivot, and losing Lampard would see the Blues reduced to approximately zero depth in arguably the most important part of the pitch. Add to that the fact that the 34-year-old is within striking distance of Bobby Tambling's all-time goalscoring record for the club, giving him far more motivation to stick around than Didier Drogba or Nicolas Anelka... and well, I'm not sure what to make of it.

No matter what, the club can't really afford to sell Lampard unless they reinforce the midfield come January. Spending the rest of the season with three central midfielders is a good recipe for a big old sad.

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