Both Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are entering the final months of their contracts at Stamford Bridge and could both sign pre-contracts with other clubs before the end of their current deals.
Both Englishmen have become Blues’ favourites over their Chelsea careers. Cole transferred from London rivals Arsenal in 2006 and Lampard from West Ham United in 2001.
Between them they have made a staggering 569 appearances for the Blues and have taken them to the heights of the Premier League and Champion’s League titles.
Manager Di Matteo admitted that their contract situations are concerning for him but conceded,
“That’s the world of football. That’s how you live in this world, in this industry.”
Former Blues legend Didier Drogba departed from the Bridge at the end of last season along with Salomon Kalou. Both players ran down their contracts and left for nothing under the Bosman ruling.
“We had the same last season with some players and, at the end of the day, we all have to be professional and try to do our best, even though maybe the contract is not sorted out,” the manager added.
Lampard is now 34 years old and is now entering the twilight of his career. But the 31-year-old Cole appeared to be more of a worry for the Italian coach who said of the fullback,
“He’s a fit boy. He can play every game, so he still has many years in front of him. I would like him to stay and be here with us.”
Ashley Cole has been linked with lucrative moves abroad – to Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid where two former Chelsea managers now reside in Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho, respectively, and even a controversial switch to Manchester United.
Due to the waived transfer fee that would normal apply, players who leave on free transfers can often secure the highest wages and sizable signing on fees from their prospective new clubs.
Frank Lampard has been linked with an England reunion with David Beckham at Los Angeles Galaxy, the American club having become something of a retirement home for superstar ex-pats.