How could Chelsea shape up next season?
The Blues could challenge for Premier League title
There were a few raised eyebrows when Chelsea appointed Frank Lampard last summer.
The club legend had just completed his first season as a first-team manager, narrowly missing out on the play-offs with Derby, when Chelsea poached him as a replacement for Maurizio Sarri.
Little was expected of Lampard in what looked to be a season of transition, with a transfer ban in place and Eden Hazard sold to Real Madrid.
But the former midfielder has defied expectations, offering a fresh approach to youth development and looking set to qualify for next season’s Champions League – they’re now 1/4 to secure a top-four finish.
With the Hazard money burning a hole in their pockets, Chelsea have already dipped their toe into the transfer market, with further additions expected.
And if Lampard can continue to fix the weaknesses in his squad, who’s to say they can’t become genuine title contenders next season?
Chelsea have wasted no time in preparing for the new campaign, having already snapped up two of the brightest talents in Europe.
Back in February they announced that Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech would join them this summer, boosting their options out wide as Pedro and Willian look set to leave.
The Morocco international excelled last season as Ajax won the Eredivisie and reached the Champions League semi-final, scoring 21 times and providing 24 assists in all competitions.
Ziyech has added another 21 assists this time around and he’ll complement the creativity of Christian Pulisic on the opposite flank.
Fellow new boy Timo Werner will be looking to profit from Ziyech having also agreed to join. The German will arrive from RB Leipzig ahead of the new campaign, looking to continue his prolific form having bagged 95 goals in his last four seasons in Germany.
Werner’s arrival gives Lampard genuine depth up top, providing competition for top scorer Tammy Abraham, while World Cup winner Olivier Giroud’s experience will be essential in challenging for trophies.
Who else could sign?
Title-winning teams are built on having strength in depth and Lampard has been resolute in making sure he has options in every position. He’s made no secret of his desire to bring in a left-back and if rumours are to be believed, Ben Chilwell is top of Chelsea’s shopping list.
The England international has enjoyed an excellent season with Leicester, who are currently one place above Chelsea in the table.
But he may fancy a fresh challenge and his attacking threat would make him the ideal replacement for Marcos Alonso.
Elsewhere, Chelsea have also been linked with Bayer Leverkusen attacker Kai Havertz. The German can play up top, out wide or in the hole and he’s scored six goals since the Bundesliga resumed last month.
And the spending spree may lead to them raiding London rivals West Ham for Declan Rice. The England international has been linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge this week and he’ll likely quit the Hammers if they’re relegated.
Whether Rice would be competition or a replacement for N’Golo Kante remains to be seen, with the French midfielder’s future unclear.
Can Chelsea win the title?
Liverpool have blown everybody away this season and will take some stopping but Manchester City were in the same position not long ago, demonstrating the difficulty in maintaining dominance.
But if Chelsea continue to splash out in the transfer market, there’s no reason why they can’t compete with the best teams in the country.
Lampard has quality at his disposal and has helped the likes of Kepa Arrizabalaga and Mateo Kovacic shine this season, when the jury was still out last summer.
The Chelsea boss has also put faith in youngsters, with Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James proving their worth.
It may still be a year too early for them to be considered title contenders but the future certainly looks bright under Lampard.
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