Despite the daft nickname some around here used to like to hang around his neck, Lampard has always been one of the fittest and least injury prone players of his age. I agree he can't continue at the highest mileage but I see him more as a Giggs than a Scholes. He's also one of the more intelligent players and so I would expect him to be able to adapt either to a fewer matches regime, or to not being box to box the whole time.
I wouldn't expect him to be offered, or to ask for, a four or five year contract. But I will be surprised if he hasn't got at least two or three good seasons left. And like Carragher and Gerrard with you I think he has a great deal to offer Chelsea even if he isn't playing. Torres excepted, our new look attack is very young and I am sure, for all their talents, there is much that Lampard can teach them, as well as playing a calming and inspiring influence. More than anyone, I'd like Lampard to stay with Chelsea when his playing days are over.
But you're right, whether that's what he wants or not I can't say. I can see it more with Carragher and Gerrard who I would guess are more LFC rooted and committed than Lampard may be to Chelsea, much as he says he loves the club and I believe him. But I can see him going overseas for two or three seasons before starting some new career (punditry?) more than I can Carragher and Gerrard.
As I said earlier, I wouldn't be surprised to see Lampard and/or Cole at Real Madrid next season. Would you?
Rightly or wrongly, Chelsea do seem to have a no multiyear contract policy for the over 30s. If the rumours are true that seems to have been the breakdown in negotiations with both Drogba and Ballack. It's understandable now that we make a profit every year but it would be a shame if it caused Lampard and Cole to leave before their time.
Happy New year to you. May our discussions in 2013 be more understanding and less grumpy.