Frank Lampard's long-anticipated departure from Chelsea this summer may yet be averted after the club's stance that the 34-year-old will leave in June as a free agent has softened in recent weeks.
Having resolved to allow Lampard to leave when his contract expires at the end of the season, the club are now reconsidering after giving Ashley Cole a one-year contract extension.
The club have been reluctant to extend Lampard's contract at his current level, around £150,000 a week.
He was a target for Los Angeles Galaxy, but his second option, in China, looks less attractive now with both Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka having returned from Shanghai to Europe amid doubts over whether the Super League has such lucrative potential.
A friendly compromise between both sides that allows Lampard to stay would be the solution most supporters would like. And should owner Roman Abramovich decree that Lampard has to stay, then it will happen.
Lampard's pursuit of Bobby Tambling's all-time goalscoring record for Chelsea, 202, of which he is five goals short, has become a compelling sub-plot. The England midfielder scored his 27th goal for his country on Wednesday, taking him joint 11th on the all-time list with David Platt.
Afterwards, manager Roy Hodgson warned Lampard that if he did move to Los Angeles, it would be difficult to continue his England career – he is six caps short of 100.
"It's not for me to comment on what goes on between him and his club,'' said Hodgson, "but I know he is anxious to keep competing for an England place.
"And I've said to him that if it's not going to be Chelsea, I'm rather hoping he'll still be either here or in Europe because that will make it easier for us to keep picking him.