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Friday, 06 January 2012

Manchester United: Is Frank Lampard really on Fergie's radar?


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Frank Lampard has been a great servant for Chelsea. Some questioned Claudio Ranieri's decision to pay West Ham £11 million for the midfielder more than a decade ago, but his goal return at the Bridge alone has made that fee look like a bargain. Lampard has been an integral part of the Blues' success over the past decade but you don't need to be a brain surgeon to tell all is not smooth at the Bridge regarding Lamps and the manager Andre Villas-Boas.

This season the England international has been left out of crucial games, been hauled off during matches and generally snubbed by his gaffer, even though he has saved his bacon on numerous occasions. Lampard has hit out in the media saying that AVB refuses to tell him why he has been left out of games and there were reports that even after scoring the winner against Wolves the manager refused to congratulate him. After everything Lampard has done for Chelsea the least AVB can do is treat him with some respect.

Despite all of this, and talk that AVB is trying to rebuild the squad by getting rid of some of the old guard at the Bridge, Lampard has reiterated his desire to stay at Chelsea. He loves the fans, the club and has his eyes on the club's all-time scoring record. He doesn't want to move, but it looks like he may not feature in the plans of AVB. So could there be some truth in the story published in the Daily Mail this morning linking Frank Lampard with a shock move to Old Trafford?

Everyone who has watched Manchester United recently knows that their midfield is simply not up to scratch. Anderson, Carrick and Park are good players but they are not United class. Ryan Giggs has well passed his sell-by date, Ashley Young, currently out injured, hasn't done much since August and Valencia is being played out of position.

United need some drive in their midfield, someone who knows where the goals are, someone who can link up with Rooney and Hernandez and exploit the gaps in between midfield and defence. Someone who can make late runs into the box and finish teams off . . . someone like Frank Lampard.

The Chelsea midfielder is the top scoring midfielder in the country despite not playing every minute of every game under AVB and still has a lot to prove. He was written off by many at the start of the season but he hit back with the winner for England against Spain at Wembley and he is at his best when people are on his back.

Most United fans are crying out for Fergie to break the bank to bring Wesley Sneijder to Old Trafford and would feel that a move for Lampard would only be a short solution. After all, he is 33 and not getting any younger. But Sneijder would cost United a small fortune, Lampard - who only has 18 months left on his contract - could be snapped up for a few million. He has bags of Premier League and international experience and would link up well with Wayne Rooney and co. Not to forget that Sneijder has hardly been pushing up any trees for Inter this season.

If such a move for Lampard did come off it would be one of the top flight's most shocking ones. Lampard would be given up his quest for the Champions League, but if he remains at Chelsea he may miss out on that next season anyway as Chelsea battle it out for fourth place with Liverpool and Arsenal.

A few weeks ago Fergie stated that he would not be entering the January sales, but then they got beat at home by Blackburn and away at Newcastle. Everyone at Old Trafford would like to see the squad freshened up this month, but could Lampard be the man to reignite United's title charge?

Manchester United fans: Would you welcome Lampard to Old Trafford? Could he fill that creativity drive that is so sorely missing from the heart of your midfield? Or do you think Lampard is too old to make a difference now?

Chelsea fans: How much would you miss Frank Lampard if he did leave? Do you think Abramovich and AVB would ever let Lamps leave for Old Trafford? No-one is bigger than the club, and Lampard is getting on a bit, but who do you back in the Chelsea power struggle - Lampard or AVB?

Whatever your views we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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