According to a recent report by the Daily Mirror, Chelsea are positive about their chances of getting their transfer ban shortened and have told leading agents about their plans to work on some signings in January. This will be a welcome boost for Frank Lampard as some positions are in dire need of being strengthened.
The same source has also revealed that the Blues have launched an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to get their two-window transfer ban reduced to one which they had already served earlier this summer.
If the West London outfit end up winning the appeal, then Frank Lampard would have to strengthen wisely during the winter transfer window so that he has a strong squad capable of challenging on all fronts in the second half of this campaign – and mybookie promo has responded by shortening Chelsea’s odds of qualifying for the Champions League via finishing in the top four.
Chelsea have some gaping holes in their squad and have never been afraid to spend big in the winter window with £50million Fernando Torres and £58m Christian Pulisic headlining some big moves they’ve made in the first month of the year.
The 2019-20 campaign is one that’s impossible to predict at Stamford Bridge.
Not only is Lampard facing his first season in a Premier League dugout, but Chelsea will be without Eden Hazard, their best player for almost a decade.
More of an emphasis will be placed on youth, another scenario that is almost entirely new in SW6, while Lampard is playing in a completely different style to Maurizio Sarri.
Should all things go as planned, here are some positions Frank Lampard should look to strengthen.
Without a doubt, Cesar Azpilicueta has been a shadow of his former self this season.
He has been a weak-link for Chelsea so far and has been dispossessed on numerous occasions – with some leading to goals.
César Azpilicueta gave away possession 20 times against Sheffield United, at least three times more than any other player on the pitch.
He didn't cover himself in glory for the goals either. ?♂️ pic.twitter.com/3Dykpd1ppR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 31, 2019
A detailed analysis of his shortcomings so far was well outlined in my previous article stating why Lampard must drop him from his starting XI.
Chelsea could do with a new right-back to provide cover for Cesar Azpilicueta. Yes they do have youngster Reece James, who Lampard has every faith in, and once fit, he will be the back-up that Chelsea need.
It has even been suggested that the roles will soon be reversed and James will take the position when he is fit, meaning Azpilicueta could have his nose put out of joint and ask to leave, with clubs in Spain keen.
Chelsea do have the option to recall Davide Zappacosta from his loan at Roma, but could look at alternatives and bring in someone new.
Going by the first two positions Lampard needs to strengthen in January, it’s safe to say the Chelsea defence has been a shambles this season.
It’s no wonder they have conceded 11 goals in five games already (the UEFA Super Cup inclusive). It shows a massive decline considering at this stage of last season after the same number of games, the Blues had only conceded four goals in total (via Whoscored) -meaning the amount of goals Chelsea conceded in their first five games last season is what they conceded against Manchester United alone on the opening day of the current season. Not a statistic Frank Lampard will want to notice.
With that in mind, it’s obvious Central defence is also an area of major concern for Chelsea at the moment, particularly while Antonio Rudiger is out of the side injured.
Following the departure of David Luiz to Arsenal, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma have been playing in central defence, with youngster Fikayo Tomori also an option.
But the position is clearly an issue as both pairings (Zouma and Christensen) have been shaky and Zouma in particular has been guilty of some individual mistakes on numerous occasions.
If Rudiger is out for any length of time, a centre back will be top of the list.
Attacking midfielder/winger position
Another attacking midfielder could be brought in following the departure of Eden Hazard. Fortunately for Chelsea, a deal for Cristian Pulisic had been done before the transfer ban kicked in, but Chelsea could look to strengthen the position further.
The fact they have been linked with Wilfried Zaha would suggest they are thinking along those lines.
Though they have a Mason Mount in top gear at the moment, It won’t hurt to bring in an “experienced” attacking midfielder/winger that is well proven to perform on the top level – especially as they’re in the Champions League.
Wilfried Zaha could be a like for like replacement for Eden Hazard and perfectly fits the bill.
Finally, another striker could be on Lampard’s wanted list. Goals win games, and although Tammy Abraham has stepped up to the plate nicely so far this season, Lampard would no doubt be interested to see what is out there in the way of strikers.
Callum Wilson is a name that has been linked to Chelsea in recent times.
The Bournemouth striker had the best year of his playing career last season when he scored 14 goals and grabbed 10 assists in 30 league appearances.
At 27 years of age, he could be of more competition to Tammy Abraham than Olivier Giroud would and his experience in the Premier League could come in handy as well – should Chelsea secure his services.
Lampard’s Chelsea have been decent upfront but the disorderliness and individual errors at the back has been a major cause for worry. One that should be his major priority if the Blues get a successful hearing on their transfer ban ahead of January.
For all of their attacking brilliance, Chelsea have only won one out of four games and it gets more worrying when you consider that two out of those four games were against newly-promoted sides and still they had to grind out results.
Lampard might now be given a lifeline to salvage the situation and must seek to strengthen the weak links in his squad – particularly in his defensive options.