Last Sunday, following Chelsea’s goalless draw with Norwich, the home side made the traditional lap, applauding the fans. One trio stood out: Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, and John Terry walked together, seemingly waving goodbye. Cole was in tears, although none of the three looked particularly pleased.
These three members of Chelsea’s old guard will have their contracts run out come summer, and questions remain as to their future. 33-year-old Cole has been with the Blues since 2006; Lampard, nearly 36, joined in 2001; and captain Terry, also 33, came up through the Chelsea academy.
On Monday, José Mourinho will submit a report to the club, outlining his first season back in charge at Chelsea. Part of what the Portuguese will include will be his assessment on whether to extend the contracts of one or more of the veteran trio.
But while Mourinho has stated throughout the season that he’d like to keep these three at Stamford Bridge, recent remarks on their future makes the possibility of an extension look much less certain:
Clearly Chelsea had a fantastic team that lasted for 10 years. Some of these boys are still here but not many of them. And Chelsea are building their future. You could see this season these people were important to give some stability, some experience to the team, but obviously they’re not the players for the next 10 years. Those have to be the Hazards, Oscars, Nemanja Matic … these young guys.
Injury and illness will almost certainly keep Terry and Lampard out of the lineup at Cardiff City on Sunday. Have they waved their last goodbye to Chelsea supporters? And what of the tearful Cole, likely to start but with little hope for a future at Stamford Bridge – will he never return in blue?