We've had a few days of amusing rumours regarding Frank Lampard heading to Manchester United*, and now they're generalising into 'Frank Lampard could leave Chelsea'. Fun! On the face of it, the idea that Lampard could leave Chelsea seems like lunacy. He's made more than 500 appearances for the club, scoring about three hundred billion goals in the process, and the idea that both he and the club would be totally cool with him leaving is a pretty painful one to contemplate.
*It was never going to happen, mostly because United are broke, but man was I tempted to try starting a Lampard and cash for Wayne Rooney transfer rumour. That would have been hilarious.
On the other hand, a Lampard transfer would make perfect sense for both parties. Turn off the emotion filter and you have a 33-year-old player who's been incapable of playing at his best for sustained periods (although it still shows up more than his biggest detractors would admit), and one who probably won't be part of the next great Chelsea team. Lampard deserves to be playing more than he has been for someone, if not Chelsea, and like any true professional he wants to be out on the pitch rather than riding the bench.
So Lampard's a player who should want to leave but at the same time not someone the club would really miss. The financial stuff that's getting thrown around right now is more or less irrelevant - the Blues signed him to his current deal before the close of the Financial Fair Play grace period, so his £150,000 per week wages mean roughly nothing to the club save being a minor annoyance to Roman Abramovich - which is a pretty compelling argument for him to stay, but if the rift between Villas-Boas and the senior players is as deep as is sometimes claimed, and Lampard wants out... well, the club probably doesn't need to try that hard to stop him.
It's obviously impossible to understand what's really going on behind the scenes here, but no matter what we're going to be getting a lot of rumours about the senior players departing this window. Nicolas Anelka's already out, and it looks like Alex, Lampard, Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba are potential departures. Realistically, the chances of any of the latter three going anywhere appears slim, but it's not completely impossible to see even the Mourinho-era legends making way now.