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In the game of Old Guard contract extension musical chairs, Frank Lampard grabs the prime seat

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Warren Little

This is your weekly reminder that the Chelsea "Old Guard" are, well, old. Not real life old, just sports old. Get off my lawn! You know, just in case you've forgotten that John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Ashley Cole - note descending order of synonymity factor with Chelsea - are all north of 33 and have about four months left on their contracts.

The contract extension saga has become an annual winter- and spring-time exercise since the time of Andre Villas-Boas - especially for Lampard - but for the first time ever, we might actually see at least one of the players not get the fabled one-year extension that is supposedly our strict club policy for players over 30.

Right now, the smart money is on Terry and Lampard extending and Cole leaving. Although if the Mirror is to be believed, that may not include Terry all of a sudden, despite the Captain having already played more this season than all of last and having one of his better seasons in recent memory in the process. And while Mourinho has not guaranteed a new contract, he's had nothing but praise for the man who's been at Chelsea since age 14. So we probably shouldn't believe the Mirror.

At least the Telegraph uses the signing of Kurt Zouma and Terry studying for his UEFA B licenses to support a similar speculation. All that tells me though is that Terry will make that most expected transition from Chelsea player to Chelsea coach eventually. If nothing else, having him around to iron out the kinks in Zouma's game and work with young talent like Andreas Christensen sounds like a pretty good plan.

Lampard's eventual future may lie in coaching as well - hello club pride, Coach Lampard and Coach Terry! - but the Mirror speculates that he's now the most likely to receive his one-year contract reward. Considering that it was basically Mourinho - at the time still with Real Madrid - who convinced Frank to stay last year, this is perhaps not an unreasonable assumption.

Despite missing a late, gilt-edged chance on Wednesday, Lampard showed that even if he has lost (or ends up losing) his starting spot to Nemanja Matic, he can still be an impact substitute if nothing else. So, sign him up? Sign him up!

The odd man out at the end of the season may be Ashley Cole who has lost his starting left back spot to a right back. And if that's not damning enough, it was all due to defense:

"We have a winger that plays very, very wide like Eden Hazard and we are a lot more offensive. And we are given that defensive stability with Azpilicueta behind him as a stronger defender."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Express

Defense was once Cole's calling card (Goal-line-clearance, his middle name), so this cannot be a good development as far as his long-term prospects are concerned. Though Mourinho is quick to point out that Ash is still one of the best and most trusted whom England's got.

"Ashley is playing well. Okay, he is not playing every game but he is playing and he is playing well. And I think that is what Roy Hodgson wants to know."

"It's not my problem, it is Roy's problem, but I believe that he goes for stability more and he will take Ashley and Leighton Baines who were the two left-backs that took them through qualification."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Express

In lieu of a proper conclusion, let's have a poll.

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