The season may have started unfavourably for Chelsea with the Blues positioned in 11th in the league table, but Frank Lampard’s influence is patently clear.
A 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford was hardly the fairy-tale start to Lampard’s career as Chelsea boss, yet, this season and the Blues’ conduct over the summer, is steeped in pragmatism.
From his inaugural press-conference, the club’s record scorer was utterly transparent about his belief in Chelsea’s young stars.
Mason Mount is firing. Tammy Abraham has scored the joint-third highest total of goals in the league. Lampard has already named Chelsea’s youngest ever starting eleven in Premier League history. The 41-year-old’s faith in youth is bearing fruit.
More importantly, the likes Mount, Abraham, Tomori and Christensen are academy graduates receiving meaningful first-team involvement. At last, the Blues’ academy is no longer mobilised solely as a means of developing players who are sold or loaned to accumulate income.
The seemingly unreachable destination of Chelsea’s first team is now a tangible avenue for the club’s young players.
Frank Lampard’s appointment, coupled with purposeful youth integration, has reinstated the feel-good factor at Stamford Bridge. The ensuing sense of togetherness and unity among the Stamford Bridge support is a far cry from last season, where Maurizio Sarri endured a fractured relationship with supporters.
Nonetheless, there remains a contingent of fans unconvinced by the club’s new-found approach to its young players, as evidenced by the following tweet.
And ten years ago, we were…
• Challenging for the Premier League
• Challenging for the Champions League
• Challenging for ALL possible trophies every season. REGULARLY.
Whilst being one of the best and most feared teams in Europe.
— Terry Sazio (@sazio1984) September 4, 2019
Losing 4-0 to Manchester United and failing to beat a newly promoted side at the Bridge is frustrating for all affiliated with Chelsea. And, despite winning the FA Cup and the Europa League in the past two seasons, the prospect of thwarting Manchester City’s domestic monopoly seems improbable.
However, as many supporters recognise, the absence of Eden Hazard – a player whom Chelsea depended on immensely – and a two-window transfer ban has significantly altered the club’s circumstances. On a broader level, diminished financial resources have limited the club’s competitiveness.
Chelsea have a net expenditure of £120.34M (per Transfermarkt) over the previous five seasons on transfers, almost equating to an average net spend of £24M per season. Tottenham Hotspur are the only side that finished in the top-ten last season which have a smaller net spend than Chelsea (£95.37M).
Chelsea are no longer the economic force of old, capable of trumping any competitor they encounter in the transfer market. Despite amassing a healthy total of £82.67M this summer, the Blues are unable to dominate the market as ruthlessly as they did in Abramovich’s infant years as the club’s owner.
Times have changed at Chelsea; it’s high time that some fans recognise that. Otherwise, they risk facing disappointment when the Blues fail to realise their idealistic expectations.
Frank Lampard, aided by Chelsea icons of yesteryear, is altering the club’s culture; now is the time to embrace that change.
What are your thoughts? Let us know!