Many Chelsea fans would have jumped with joy after hearing about the reduction of their transfer ban this January. It will allow them to re-enter the market after being unable to sign new players in the summer. While it may sound like paradise on the surface, it could fracture the excellent work that has been orchestrated by manager Frank Lampard.
What Lampard has been building isn’t perfect but it is something with so much potential. The growth of this squad in the past few months has been incredible. This team were so reliant on Eden Hazard last season and they have found a way to cope without him. There was no obvious candidate to deliver the goals but Tammy Abraham had made a giant leap from his free-scoring days in the Championship to bridge that gap. Fikayo Tomori has made a similarly quick transition to top-flight football, seamlessly slotting into the centre of defence and has performed with confidence. There was so much reasoning for this team to fail but it hasn’t. Instead, it has flourished.
Frank Lampard Should Remain Calm Amid Lifting of Reduction of Transfer Ban
Calm Amid Chaos
So many of England’s big football clubs are in chaos. Arsenal spent heavily in the summer but Unai Emery seemed to be taking the team backwards. His dismissal hasn’t inspired an upturn in fortunes yet, though, and their turmoil continues.
Manchester United are probably at their most vulnerable position for nearly 30 years. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will beg for time and finance as he tries to build his vision for the club but it’s highly unlikely he will be finishing this long project. Some building blocks are in place but there is so much rebuilding that still needs to be done and it’s leaving the Red Devils in a position of mediocrity.
Tottenham Hotspur may be on the up with the appointment of Jose Mourinho. The former United, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager had masterminded three wins in his opening three matches but was defeated on his return to Old Trafford. There is hope of a genuine revival but it remains hope at this stage.
Chelsea can stand tall while many of their rivals are crumbling. This could have been them. It should have been them. The signs were there. Frank Lampard deserves a tremendous amount of credit for galvanising the dressing room and showing tactical awareness when it has been needed.
In the past few years, Chelsea splashed out £35 million for Danny Drinkwater, £40 million for Tiemoue Bakayoko, £58 million for Alvaro Morata and £25 million on Davide Zappacosta. The list goes on. Much of Chelsea’s transfer business has been a messy scatter-gun approach that has had no benefit on the club. This poor business condemned former manager Antonio Conte to a disappointing second season at the club. There have been some good signings made but they have been outnumbered by the flops.
You get the sense that this is the least toxic dressing room for a long time. No Hazard means there is no dominating figure within the squad. Selling David Luiz set down a stern warning to anybody who wasn’t 100% committed to the club. Lampard is working with a lot of hungry young players now; there are very few bystanders or bad apples in that group.
It doesn’t make sense to rock the boat just yet. The thought of throwing £200 million around in January will have fans frothing at the mouth. But having lots of money and little planning time promotes carelessness. It could lead to overpaying on one target or bringing in the one character. The point on character is really important. Chelsea have been notorious for having bad apples in their dressing room before so it will be vital to Lampard that the players he wants to bring in are of a certain attitude.
The club are in a good place. They are in a strong position to finish in the top-four, they should progress to the knock-out phase of the Champions League and they will hopefully fancy a run in the FA Cup. There is a lot to like about this group. They are still a few signings off winning the league but they are already out of that challenge this season. Let the kids play and see where they go.
Forget about any serious business in January. Unless there is a monumental collapse in results between now and January then it’s not worth it. The likes of Marcos Alonso and Olivier Giroud may depart but that shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Michy Batshuayi has already been sharing the back-up striker role with Giroud and has scored a few important goals. Meanwhile, Cesar Azpilicueta, Reece James and Emerson can all play at left-back. The rotation of these players could comfortably cover Alonso’s departure until the end of the campaign.
Frank Lampard and His Summer Business
Chelsea probably need another centre-back, a left-back, a winger – maybe two, and a striker. Reports have suggested that they have the option on a £40 million buy-back clause for Nathan Ake, a deal which really does sound like an absolute must. There is a real clamber for Jadon Sancho but Wilfried Zaha provides a very good, and more realistic, alternative for a winger. Batshuayi is a good secondary option for Abraham but is never likely to oust the England international, while under Frank Lampard at least.
Emerson is a solid defender and he can grow even more as a footballer. His energy is outstanding. He doesn’t quite fit the bill for a top-level left-back, though, and Lampard will be looking for an upgrade. Ben Chilwell is the obvious shout but, should Leicester City make the Champions League, a transfer could be very difficult to manufacture.
The main point is that this possible summer business isn’t something that needs to happen tomorrow. There are weak areas in the squad but none are shockingly deficient. The club have stumbled onto something great by not bringing in any new players. It’s important that they take lessons from this stability and let the current players continue on their journey.