Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has warned his old club against releasing captain John Terry at the end of the season.
The 34-year-old defender, who will turn 35 next month, is set to be a free agent at the end of the current campaign, and there is a growing belief that this could be his last season at Stamford Bridge.
Although a club icon after emerging from the youth set-up and helping his side to four Premier League crowns as well as the Champions League trophy in 2012, Terry’s performances have been off the pace so far this term, which have resulted in manager Jose Mourinho dropping him on numerous occasions.
The ex-England skipper played during the 3-1 loss at home to Liverpool on Saturday and his lack of pace and agility were ruthlessly exposed as Christian Benteke scored the last goal of the game.
A move to Qatari side Al Arabi to wind down his career has been mooted, but Lampard believes that his old side would be foolish to let Terry go next summer:
“The captain role that he plays is huge for the club. I hope he stays beyond this year.” He is quoted by the London Evening Standard. “Everyone is talking about him now, but John is so big for them and will be a big point of them turning this corner. He will be the voice in the dressing room and he’s been like that throughout his career.
“I think he’s still got two or three more years in him. Five months ago we had all decided he was the best centre half in the country by some way. Now people are starting to ask questions.
“It’s not easy for John. I know that when you get to an older stage of your career and you don’t play all of the time, it’s quite difficult coming back in the team. Everyone analyses every move you make.”
Lampard was controversially released at the end of his Chelsea contract in 2014.
He left the club to join Major League Soccer outfit New York City FC, but their close ties with Manchester City led to a loan move back to the Premier League, which angered many Blues supporters.