Ex-Blue urges club to keep hold of veteran midfielder.
One-time Chelsea player and assistant manager Ray Wilkins has urged the West London club to offer key midfield player Frank Lampard a new contract to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the current campaign.
The England international, who has scored an incredible 199 goals for the Blues in just 593 games, has a deal with the European champions that expires this summer and as yet there have been no offers to extend that into next season.
As it stands, the 34-year-old, who joined Chelsea from West Ham United in 2001, is set to depart the club in the summer, with the likes of Major League Soccer in the United States, the Middle East and China all mooted as possible destinations for Lampard.
However, Wilkins believes that it would represent a major error on the club’s part were they to allow the veteran midfield player to leave the English capital come May.
“Frank has to stay. I can’t see why this situation is happening,” Wilkins told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme.
“He has done more than a job for Chelsea this season and will continue to do so with his fitness level and enthusiasm for the game.
“You look at [Manchester United’s] Ryan Giggs being offered another year at the age of 39 and there’s a manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] who knows how to handle the senior professionals.”
Meanwhile, Wilkins also stated that he never thought that ‘interim’ Chelsea head coach Rafa Benitez would leave the club in the wake of his press-conference outburst last week: “I honestly believe Rafa will be there until the end of the season and I don’t think they would change anything now.
“When any manager goes to Chelsea they know what they are walking into.”
Chelsea lie fourth in Premier League at present, two points behind third-placed Tottenham but five clear of chasing Arsenal.