Chelsea would regret allowing Frank Lampard to swap Stamford Bridge for new Major League Soccer franchise New York City FC, according to Harry Redknapp.
QPR boss Redknapp believes Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will not want Lampard to quit the west London club this summer.
Redknapp said he has not spoken to his nephew about his future plans, despite the 35-year-old being heavily linked with the New York outfit.
England midfielder Lampard is out of contract at Chelsea and has been tipped to join the New York franchise part-owned by Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour.
Redknapp scotched talk of Lampard joining QPR, but the MLS season does not start until March leaving a short-term Premier League deal still a possibility if he signs for New York.
“Absolutely I would keep him at Chelsea,” said Redknapp of Lampard, who has been with the Blues since 2001.
“He’s worth his weight in gold just to be around the place. I think Roy (Hodgson) feels the same. You need good characters around whether it is England or your football club.
“You’ve got Gerrard and Lampard with England, proper guys that the youngsters can look up to.
“I think he’ll stay at Chelsea, I’d be surprised if he didn’t. Mourinho will want to keep him.”
Former Tottenham boss Redknapp said Lampard will not want to play a bit-part role at Chelsea, suggesting the 103-cap midfielder may consider the timing just right for a move to the US.
“Obviously Chelsea have a strong squad and Frank knows he’s not going to play every game - that is going to be his problem, accepting that,” said Redknapp.
“It’s up to Frank and Frank will make his own mind up. He will talk with his dad but he is a very successful, single-minded fellow and will do what he wants to do.
“Maybe if he’s going to go now’s the time to go, I’ve not heard he’s going to go, Frank’s not mentioned that to me.
“I’m sure he’ll only be focused on the World Cup now, Frank’s not going to be thinking about anything else.
“It’s exciting to go to New York though, a new project over there, but he’ll be successful in whatever he wants to do.
“The only person Frank would ask for advice is his dad, but he’ll know, he’s a very shrewd boy.
“He’s got his girlfriend as well, and they might fancy New York for a couple of years.
“I don’t think Frank will be happy not playing regularly, he’s not used to it and he won’t fancy not playing.”
Redknapp spent three years at the Seattle Sounders between 1976 and 1979, admitting football in America has proved alluring in two different eras.
Atletico Madrid and Spain striker David Villa joined the New York franchise on Monday to become the first player they have signed.
However, Redknapp thinks MLS still has some way to go to rival the calibre of stars that made the move some 40 years ago.
“I went out to Seattle and it’s a great time, a fantastic experience,” said Redknapp.
“Thierry Henry’s out there now and Jermaine Defoe, but in the 70s there were much better players out there.
“Seriously though, you had Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, Gert Muller, Pele and Carlos Alberto.
“Most of that great Dutch team of the 70s went out there, and even Bobby Moore and George Best at points too.
“I think it was far more star-studded then, but it has moved on a level again recently.”