Frank Lampard has been linked with many clubs as it became increasingly clear his future was no longer with Chelsea FC. As time catches up on him the rigours of week-in-week out Premier League football are seemingly beyond him despite the dedicated player that he is.
It was widely reported that LA Galaxy were the favourites to snap him up either in the New Year or the summer. David Beckham’s contract situation and Landon Donovan’s cryptic self-analysis of his future in California added weight to the claims as there would be room aplenty for a new designated player at The Home Depot Center.
Not only that but Lampard proposed to current beau Christine Bleakley at a beach side location in Los Angeles and has openly spoke of his love for the area in the past. With David Beckham not looking likely to return to our shores even in the event of his LA Galaxy career coming to an end it would also give him an acquaintance in the area to help the bedding in period.
However now he has been linked with a new team, Guizhou Renhe.
I know a giant collective ‘who?’ just rang out upon reading the name but the club finished fourth in last season’s Chinese Super League. So if Frank was to join fellow former Chelsea stars Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba in the Far East just who would he be signing for?
Where do they play?
Well Renhe currently play at the 52,000 capacity Guiyang Olympic Centre and much like many American sports franchise of old have moved from city to city to find the best resting spot. Originally based in Shanghai a move to Shaanxi followed in 2006 before last season’s swap to Guiyang to take advantage of the facilities in the city.
Do we know any of their players?
Remember Sun Jihai of Manchester City and Crystal Palace? Well he signed for the club in 2010 and the 35-year-old is still at the club. They also have former PAOK striker Zlatan Muslimovic and three former Levante players in their ranks in the form of Ruben Suarez, Nano and Rafa Jorda.
Anyone we know ever played for them?
Former Inter Milan hitman Mohamed Kallon had a brief stay in 2009 while one time Celtic flop Rafael Scheidt also had a stay at the club. In terms of British players only Scotland’s Derek Riordan comes to mind who was there in 2011.
How can they afford Lampard?
Renhe Commercial Holdings Company, who builds underground supermarkets, invests heavily in the club and the recent move to Guiyang has proved massively successful for them commercially. They also qualified for the AFC Champions League for the first time this season and will want to sign a big name to attract major revenue from the competition.
Will this really happen?
The likelihood is no it will not. While nobody doubts the ambition of Chinese Super League clubs it would be a big move in terms of Lampard’s personal life to make such a dramatic move and the transfer to LA Galaxy does still seem a better fit. However not many people genuinely thought Didier Drogba would make the China plunge and he did so there must be a real allure to the place.
Sun Jihai welcomed the move:
“Lampard is a world-class star in both fame and ability, and he has played for the world’s best club, I don’t know whether has been confirmed, but it would be great if it is true.”
image: © Ben Sutherland