Gary O’Neil believes West Ham United should offer Frank Lampard a return to the club.
The England international came through the famed youth system at Upton Park, before going on to make 148 league appearances in the claret and blue. He left East London for Chelsea during the summer of 2001 in an £11million deal, and he has gone on to win three Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League, four FA Cups and two League Cups since.
Lampard is currently closing on Bobby Tambling’s record of 202 goals for the Stamford Bridge outfit, and he is widely regarded as one of the best players to have ever worn the blue shirt. But with his current contract set to expire at the end of the campaign, it looks increasingly likely that he will end his association with the club and head for pastures new in the summer.
A number of clubs have already been linked with the 34-year-old, including Manchester United, Paris St Germain and LA Galaxy, but O’Neil would love to see him make a sensational return to his roots. Speaking ahead of the meeting between the two clubs on Sunday afternoon, the midfielder believes the former Hammer would be a fine addition to Sam Allardyce’s squad.
“It’s surprising when a player of that stature and quality is allowed to run a contract down,” he said. “He is a fantastic player and would be great here if the club could get hold of him. I remember playing against him once for Portsmouth. Harry Redknapp asked me to try to follow him.
“Well, I’ve followed him around Stamford Bridge many a time and you think you’ve got him at 0-0 with ten minutes to go. But you lose him once and that’s it. It’s happened to me a few times – but hopefully not this time. We’re both getting old at the same rate anyway!”
Lampard has been given a frosty reception whenever he has made the return to Upton Park, so it would be interesting to see how the West Ham fans would react should he make the unlikely decision to end his career at the club which launched it. In reality, he is more likely to either sign a new deal with Chelsea, or head to another club who can offer him regular European football.