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The Great Lampard Debate

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The Frank Lampard saga continues to troll on this summer. Questions abound regarding his future, and whether or not he will sign an extension or rush into The Ordinary One's arms at Inter Milan?

The latest bit of rumor comes via France Football Magazine, which claims Lamps has agreed a four-year contract with the Italian champions worth around £5.8 million per. The Telegraph have provided the English-speaking lot a translated version. According to the forums, Sky Sports spoke with Lampard's agent, Steve Kutner, and he said the report was "categorically untrue."

Regardless of the validity of the report, it gives me a chance to debate with you guys about Lampard. Specifically, whether he should stay or go. I'll try to present each side fairly, accurately and intelligently (no problem). Drop your opinions friends.

The Argument For Lampard
Frank is a pillar of the current Chelsea foundation. Along with club captain John Terry, Frank -- vice captain -- has proved his loyalty to the Blues time and time again in his performance, both on and off the field. He's simply not just a player; losing Frank means losing a large chunk of passion and love. That kind of character (you know Didier), these type of qualities are irreplaceable.

As for performance, his displays over the past three seasons have been something of another caliber. Lampard has netted 20-plus goals in each of those seasons, while also collecting at least 10 assists. How do you replace that kind of production? He has a great workrate, solid ball skills and above average passing ability. Lamps' attacking runs are second to none and his field awareness, particularly around the box, is almost uncanny.

Furthermore, his departure could disrupt the team internally. How would the team's chemistry be impacted minus one of its most influential members? Who's to say his departure wouldn't trigger an exodus anyway? I can only assume several of our English contingent would be none pleased.

The Argument Against Lampard
The most glaring question facing Lampard faces the entire midfield. If Uncle Phil is indeed focused on imploying a more creative midfield than something has to give. None of our current three - Essien, Lampard, Ballack -- are considering creative. So, who (all) does he move? Looking at our current structure, it has basically been built around Lampard's (and Drogba's) strengths. Really, Lampard is the one figure in our team that seems to dictate our style of play. Could he adapt? Does Lampard's role lessen, or become less effective, in a new system?

As for attributes, Lampard has displayed a propensity to go missing - not just missing, but completely disappearing at times. It probably happens more than most would like to admit. Dribbling isn't really a strong suit and pace, well, it could certainly be better. His set-piece delivery has also taken a dive though, to be fair, no one on this team can really deliver telling service.

Another thing: Although the stats say different - and they, supposedly, never lie - I have a hard time referring to Lampard as a true creator. Maybe it's just me, but I feel as if that's the one aspect this team has missed considerably over the past few years. With a player of that nature in the squad, it could -- I'm not saying it would -- offset the goals lost by the departure of Lampard by providing more opportunities for the forward line.

We also have proved we can forge ahead without him. A nine-game winning streak, which featured an impressive win over Manchester United, came with Lampard sidelined.

Conclusions
I'm still up in the air over this. I would love to see him stay -- God knows he's been fantastic for the most part -- but I would also like to see what happens without him in the squad. I may get my wish sooner rather than later.