Frank Lampard finally made his first signature as Chelsea manager this week when Ajax star Hakim Ziyech signed on the dotted line for a move of £ 37 million this summer.
A transfer ban imposed by FIFA prevented Lampard from changing his team when he arrived last summer, but much more is expected at Stamford Bridge now that the ruling has been lifted.
It is thought that a new goalkeeper, winger and left back are high on Lampard’s wish list, so if he gets what he wants, how will Chelsea present itself at the start of next season?
Now that the Chelsea transfer ban has been lifted, Frank Lampard is expected to have a busy summer
Goalkeeper – Dean Henderson
Kepa Arrizabalaga is perhaps the most expensive keeper in the world, but his performance this season has been far from being worthy of the title.
Error after error the Spaniard eventually saw the last few weeks being relegated to the bench with deputy Willy Caballero in the team. Kepa must quickly change its shape if it stays in place this summer.
Dean Henderson, who was impressively loaned to Sheffield United, seems to be leaving parent club Manchester United at the end of the season, chasing a No. 1 on a European heavyweight.
He would be ideal for Chelsea, since he has experience in the Premier League and would fit into their structure for recruiting young English talent.
The loaned stop of Sheffield United, Dean Henderson, is in the top six this summer
Right back – Reece James
Last month, James was rewarded for breaking his Chelsea this season with an improved contract that runs until 2025.
With Cesar Azpilicueta in the twilight years of his career, it seems that the Blues have the perfect replacement.
The 20-year-old played in the championship with Wigan last season and has built on this by becoming part of the first Lampard team.
James played 22 games this season and would have made more if there were no injuries. He is fast, strong in the tackle and able to offer excellent crosses for his teammates to attack.
Reece James looks like he could be Chelsea’s first choice in the next decade
Middle back – Fikayo Tomori
Perhaps the 22-year-old defender was the biggest winner of the Chelsea transfer ban last summer.
Lampard would probably have gone and bought back a more experienced center if he had the chance, but now has no reason to panic in the summer.
He coached Tomori in Derby last season and clearly saw real potential in him, enough to give him the essence of Chelsea’s defense this season.
Tomori has played 21 times and has probably done enough in those appearances to prevent Lampard from splashing on another defender in the summer.
After impressing Derby, Fikayo Tomori got a chance in the heart of the defense
Middle back – Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger remains the best defender of the club and he starts every match when he is fit and healthy.
After missing the best part of four months at the start of the season, Rudiger has not missed a minute of Premier League action since his return in mid-December.
He showed his ability at the start of the month by stopping Jamie Vardy in a hard-earned draw in Leicester, in which the German international also scored a header brace.
At 26, Rudiger is about to enter his peak years as a defender and should be in the team in the near future.
Antonio Rudiger has not missed a minute of competition since his return in mid-December
Rear left – Ben Chilwell
Heavily tied to a move to Liverpool before he even made a name for himself in the first Leicester team, Chilwell has delivered on that promise with an excellent season for the Foxes.
He has also cemented his place as England’s first choice, rear left and is expected to start on the side of Gareth Southgate at Euro 2020 this summer.
Lampard is stuck this season between a rock and a hard place. He swapped between Emerson and Marcos Alonso between left and right, while Azpilicueta sometimes switched to accommodate James.
Chilwell offers Lampard a long-term solution to his left back problems, but probably costs £ 50 million. With Leicester also approaching the Champions League, it is interesting to see if Rodgers can convince him to stay in the Midlands.
Chelsea urgently needs a new left back and Ben Chilwell from Leicester is the main goal
Midfielder: N’Golo Kante
Kante was the one who perhaps suffered the most during the term of office of Maurizio Sarri as manager of Chelsea. He reached the world top thanks to his relentless energy and ability to win the ball back.
But the Italian was so determined to play Jorginho at the base of his midfield trio, that Kante was pushed further forward, operating in a box-to-box role that didn’t make him feel comfortable.
He has switched this campaign back and forth between the two roles, but if Jorginho is sold this summer, it looks like he will fall back to the base of the midfield next time.
Kante remains the best in the world when it comes to reclaiming property and delivering it to a colleague and will undoubtedly thrive if it gets the chance to do it again next season.
N’Golo Kante remains one of the best midfielders in the world and an important player for Lampard
Midfielder: Mateo Kovacic
After being loaned to the Blues in 2018, Kovacic made the move permanent last summer and really made an impression. There were doubts after an indifferent season under Sarri, but the Croatian has proven that there is more to his game.
Kovacic has scored two goals and this season delivered three assists in 32 games, while he didn’t find it and only delivered two assists in 51 games during the 2018-19 campaign.
He traded places with Ross Barkley as third man in midfield for Sarri last season, but has now really won that battle.
Midfield is an area in which Chelsea is not linked to new players. It seems that Lampard is more than satisfied with his options in the middle of the field.
Mateo Kovacic has been more influential under Lampard than under Maurizio Sarri
Midfielder: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
The 24-year-old became increasingly important for Chelsea towards the end of last season, but then fate struck.
England’s international has been out of action since May after he had torn the Achilles tendon in his left leg and played in an off-season season against New England Revolution.
He is now looking forward to giving Lampard a big boost in the last few months of the season, returning to the training of the first team and playing a few friendly games to get himself fit.
Chelsea misses from midfield this season and Loftus-Cheek would hopefully bring some much needed offensive firepower to the team as soon as he returns.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is getting closer to full fitness and will bring a new dimension to Chelsea
Right wing: Hakim Ziyech
Lampard finally made his first big statement on the transfer market this week when the Blues completed the £ 37m signing of the Ajax winger.
There has been interest in the 26-year-old since January, but after a move was rejected last month, the Blues continued to negotiate amid growing competition from rival clubs and eventually got their man.
Ziyech had a remarkable year in 2018-19 in which Ajax narrowly missed the final of the Champions League. They lost to Tottenham in the semi-final, but Ziyech’s performances underlined his creative talent.
He was again excellent during the 4-4 draw from Chelsea with Ajax in the Champions League in November. Ziyech will bring a new dimension to the Chelsea attack and cut off the right flank to cause devastation for the opposition.
Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech became Lampard’s first signing earlier this week as Chelsea boss
Left wing: Jadon Sancho
It seems that the battle for Sancho’s signature this summer will dominate the agenda with all interested elite clubs in Europe.
The former Manchester City youth has countless suitors, both in the Premier League and abroad, but Chelsea could be an ideal destination for the club to sign a capable substitute for Eden Hazard.
Stamford Bridge, a native Londoner, may be a tempting proposition for Sancho, but Dortmund has placed a £ 100m-plus price tag on the winger.
You would, however, think that completing such expensive signing deals for the other goals of Lampard would limit. But with teams like Liverpool also chasing Sancho, the pull of Chelsea is tested to the maximum.
Chelsea is just one of a number of European top clubs that are interested in signing Jadon Sancho
Center front: Tammy Abraham
Like Tomori, Abraham was lucky that the club had a transfer ban last summer. Deals for Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain, Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi were unsuccessful in Chelsea’s efforts to replace Diego Costa.
Abraham returned to the club in the summer after having fired Aston Villa to the Premier League last season and had the opportunity to take the lead for his parent club.
He started the season on fire and scored 10 league goals in 12 games to lead the Premier League gold boat race. Things have been delayed since then (he now has 15 in 32 gigs) but he has made a case for the club’s most important man.
However, Chelsea is still associated with some of the leading striker in Europe. Moussa Dembele from Lyon and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig are just two names that the club loves. Abraham must go back to scoring goals, rather than later.