After weeks of speculation, Frank Lampard has been officially announced as Chelsea’s manager, signing a 3-year contract. The Chelsea legend returns back to Stamford Bridge, 5 years after leaving.
However, it is not going to be a smooth ride for the former midfielder. He has a lot to work on, fix, and think about before the season starts, just over a little month from now. And the transfer ban does not help his case.
Let us look at the 4 immediate things he should be solving at Chelsea.
#1 Chelsea Loanees
This should come as no surprise, but this is the number one thing Lampard should and will do after being appointed the club’s manager.
As you can obviously see, he said in the press conference that his coaching team is going to keep an eye out on the academy players and that they know those players well. And well, why not? His coaching team consists of: Jody Morris, who will come to Chelsea as assistant head coach. Chris Jones will return. Joe Edwards will move up from the development squad, and Eddie Newton will be part of the coaching staff. So it is fair to say that now, those academy players would finally get a chance they deserve, soon.
Also, the transfer ban helps in this case. With just over a month left before the Premier League transfer window closes, it looks highly unlikely that the club is going to appeal the decision.
With Chelsea not being able to sign players until the end of this season, they would have to rely on their youth at times like in the early stages of FA Cup and League Cup. And slowly, but steadily integrate the youth in the first team.
#2 What about the axed players?
Continuing from the last point, calling back the loanees is okay, but what about those certain players that were “axed” from the club – like Kurt Zouma, Danny Drinkwater, Alvaro Morata, etc. Well, a lot of the Chelsea loanees are set to be back, with a few already being sold/loaned, with more to happen over the next few weeks.
Danny Drinkwater was not in Maurizio Sarri’s plan last season. He was on the bench just twice the whole past season and never stepped foot on the ground. What happens with him is still a mystery.
After spending the last 2 seasons on loan at Stoke and Everton, does Zouma have a future at Chelsea? The defender has a contract until 2023 and would surely like to prove himself before being sold. The player made a great start to his Chelsea career before an injury put a break on his career.
It is reported that he would be a part of the pre-season training, whereas Everton are interested in buying the French international. Lampard has Luiz, Christensen, Rudiger, Ampadu and even Tomari to choose from for the centre-back position.
With Morata certainly not happy with his time spent in London, Chelsea couldn’t care less. They have demanded that Atletico Madrid pay the full amount or forget about the Spainsh international. Certainly, having a player who is not interested in playing for you creates a toxic atmosphere in the dressing room.
Michy Batshuayi was used a part of a 3-way deal to get Oliver Giroud from Arsenal in the winter transfer window of 2017-18. He then spent two more loans at Valencia and Crystal Palace. It’s now time to make a decision on his future.
Lampard has some thinking to do.
#3 Bringing a sense of unity at the club
One of the most important things Lampard has to do is to bring a sense of unity, not only amongst the fans but also inside the dressing room within the players.
For the last few seasons, Eden Hazard has been bailing Chelsea out for many times now, be it by scoring or creating chances or by his magical dribbles. The club has been relying on Hazard for way too long now. Goals being scored from other players/positions seems to have dried up and it is now on Lampard to change this. Even more so now that Hazard has left the club.
Goals from outside the box also seems to have dried up for some time now. The fans would be hoping this changes with Lampard in charge. They are eager to see more of those outside-the-box goals.
The fans also have been divided for the last few seasons with each having their own opinions and differences with the managers/tactics/players, etc.
But with Frank Lampard appointment and Cech returning, things are definitely going to change and more unity/positivity is going to prevail.
#4 Who should start upfront?
With Gonzalo Higuain’s loan over, he has been sent back to Juventus. Chelsea are now left with 3 strikers – actually 4 if Morata is also a part of the squad next season.
Frank Lampard preferred formation is 4-3-3 and switching it to 4-2-3-1 during the game. Keeping that in mind, there 4 players for 1 position.
Morata should not be considered and even if the club makes a loss, then so be it. Morata needs to stay away from Chelsea as much as possible. So that’s one down.
Next is Giroud. He should be used more like an impact sub now and then coming on when things need to change a bit upfront. That’s two down.
The next two – Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham. These two are most likely to be fighting it out for that 1 position unless the former gets sold/loaned.
Assuming they both stay, Abraham had a great last season with Villa and helped them get promoted to the Premier League. He had John Terry to guide him and now has Frank Lampard. He is definitely hungry for goals and eager to prove himself and should be the No. 1 choice.
Michy has not yet lived up to his full potential since he arrived at the Stamford Bridge. He had a great time with Dortmund before an injury ruled him out for the rest of the season. However, at Valencia, it was a disappointing loan spell and was even cut short. He then joined Palace in the winter transfer window.
But at Crystal Palace, he scored vital goals and the fans would like for him to come back. He has another chance to prove himself at Chelsea during the pre-season.