The transfer ban was supposed to be a punishment for Chelsea and Abramovich’s riches, however it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As other clubs put the brakes on summer spending, it seems the chequebook at SW6 will be as busy as ever, as we go through a summer of transition.
The old guard of Pedro and Willian seem destined to leave and the younger blood of Ziyech, and possibly Timo Werner will arrive to cause havoc on English shores.
It’s worth remembering that Chelsea have had an unprecedented level of success in the last 20 years, usually following the pattern of short spells of domination, supported by a series of short-term fixes usually brought about by turn of the revolving managerial door.
With news of the reported ‘3 Year Plan’ that Chelsea have drawn up seemingly in full swing, let’s take a look at what this means for the longer term future of Chelsea Football Club.
Year 1 – To stabilise and build a young, hungry squad
Frank Lampard arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer under the doom and gloom of a transfer ban, whilst inheriting an aging squad that lacked quality, still reeling from the sale of the best player (Eden Hazard) to Real Madrid.
The ban meant his hand was slightly forced into bringing through, and playing more youth players from the impressive plethora of talent that we had farmed out on loan for the last few years. This allowed Lampard a period of grace with the Board and Chelsea faithful as the idea of academy players gracing the Stamford Bridge turf on a regular basis was unheard of since the departure of club legend, John Terry.
It appears as if Lampard will navigate through his first season successfully, even potentially keeping Chelsea in a much-coveted Champions League spot. This still depends on a strong end to the season from his squad, however, but for the first time all year, they are all fully available.
Lampard has begun to cement the building blocks of a hungry young squad that will be bolstered with quality and experience through signings like Hakim Ziyech. With the rumours of Werner and Chilwell a constant fixture on social media, it appears the summer’s transfer window will further compliment the squad of players we have and allow us to build a settled starting eleven for the future.
Year 2 – Start Challenging for Major Trophies
With an additional year (or two) of top flight experience for some of Chelsea’s youngsters and Lampard’s style of play being further ingrained into the Chelsea squad, it seems only a matter of time before we can return to the expectations of challenging for most-sought after trophies in England and Europe.
Whilst a cup win for the squad would be a fantastic way for the young stars to taste success, it is not necessarily expected. Furthermore, a number of these players have already won everything with Chelsea at youth level, so the questions about a winning mentality may not necessarily be as applicable.
Whilst Lampard and Cech’s plan may not be the most complex, and the framework will need to be flexible, they will seemingly provided the most valuable resource of all: time.
This precious commodity is something not always afforded to Chelsea managers; should a rough patch ensue, Lampard can fall back on his legendary status with the fans and owner alike. He also will be able to articulate his knowledge that everyone at the club is pulling in the right direction.
I expect that in the next three windows, we will look to add quality and depth all over the pitch, and (hopefully) move away from the costly and wasteful purchases we have made in recent memory.
Year 3 – Win Major Trophies
Marina Granovskaia has made quite a name for herself in recent times.
Despite overseeing the purchases of players like Morata and Bakayoko, (both of whom seem destined to head out of the door for a minimal loss), Granovskaia has been shrewd and relentless in her pursuit of players like Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.
The negotiation strategy that allowed Chelsea to trump Liverpool to sign Timo Werner, albeit thanks to a huge helping hand courtesy of her colleagues Lampard and Cech’s earlier visit to Germany, is only set to grow her reputation further.
With this in mind, we finally seem to have a hierarchy in place that we can trust and that reflects the wishes of the fanbase. By 2022, we should (ideally) be only a player or two away from competing at the very top in Europe, especially if the young players mature into the established stars as expected.
Within one year, Lampard has only proved that he has the ability to convince world class players to sign, but is also trying to install the attacking philosophy that Abramovich has craved ever since he took over at Stamford Bridge. Hopefully he too will continue to grow with the team and become as good a manager as he was during his playing days.
Whilst we know as football fans that it is very easy to whip up excitement with the purchase of a new star studded player, I feel that the new way of working at Chelsea is here to stay and one I will certainly strap in for it, as I believe it is going to be one hell of a ride.
Hopefully a ride that ends in more silverware.
Written by Johnathan Mann
Edited by Rob Pratley & Jai Mcintosh
Sources: theathletic.co.uk, yardbarker.com