November 20, 2019: The Court of Arbitration for Sport listened to Chelsea's appeal against a two-window FIFA transfer ban, and decided that they would half the club's punishment.
This means Frank Lampard can plot a January transfer binge to make up for their missed summer.
He's got cash available, with sources indicating to Bleacher Report that funds raised from Eden Hazard's £90 million transfer to Real Madrid can be used to refresh the squad.
After the success of academy graduates Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi over the past year, Lampard will undoubtedly remain loyal to them in the second half of the season.
But he understands the need for experience and also appreciates how signings can bring new life and competition to a squad—so insiders are convinced he will make additions if it becomes possible.
Either way, Chelsea have been drawing up lists of players who could be brought in at some stage in 2020, and here we outline the key men believed to be on their radar, ranked according to the likelihood they are pursued.
5. Moussa Dembele
Chelsea will sign a striker in January, and Moussa Dembele brings a blend of qualities that would fit well with Lampard. He has pace, is ruthless around the box and is believed to have big ambition. He came through the ranks at Fulham so would have no trouble adjusting to London life. His time in the UEFA Champions League with Celtic and Lyon has given him a taste of football at the highest level.
The Blues have been heavily reliant on Abraham for goals (12 in all competitions). While they have looked at recruiting the 23-year-old Dembele and have considered him in the past, too, there is going to be competition from other Premier League sides.
4. Wilfried Zaha
One man sure to be available in the January market is Wilfried Zaha. He is desperate for a new challenge as he wants to play Champions League football, and Crystal Palace would sell at the right price.
Whether Chelsea would cave to their demands—Palace insiders claim he will have a price tag of at least £70 million—remains to be seen. But the 27-year-old would add pace, dynamism and power to Lampard's front line.
At this stage, no progress is being made, but there is a feeling among some close to the situation that the option to sign such a game-changer who would take little or no time to adapt would be tempting—even though Chelsea now have Christian Pulisic in form and Hudson-Odoi preparing to make a bigger mark in the second half of the season.
3. Timo Werner
The versatility and playing style of forward Timo Werner would make him a more sensible signing than Dembele and Zaha for this Chelsea side, particularly as Olivier Giroud and Pedro are likely to move on in 2020.
Werner, 23, was expected to join Bayern Munich last summer, and the fact that they did not seal that deal opens the door for a Premier League club to tempt him away from RB Leipzig. Liverpool are very keen and have been heavily linked over the past year, but sources told B/R Werner could be persuaded to choose more playing time in London over a switch to Anfield, where he would be playing back-up to Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. It would take a package of around £60 million to sign him.
2. Nathan Ake
The success with Tomori as a first-team centre-back this season has been one of the biggest positives about Lampard's reign, but there is a feeling that the Blues will need more competition at the back, even once Antonio Rudiger returns from injury.
Former Blues academy star Nathan Ake is being monitored for a potential return, as Chelsea hold a £40 million buy-back clause on him. Since his permanent move to Bournemouth in 2017, Ake has steadily grown in quality and confidence, but it is his versatility that is also tempting Chelsea to take him back.
Sources say the player would jump at the chance, especially under the current managerial team.
1. Ben Chilwell
On paper, the Blues seem well-equipped at left-back, but sources close to the situation are adamant that it is the area Chelsea are most eager to freshen up.
Marcos Alonso is likely to leave after this season, and while Emerson Palmieri started the season well, Leicester City's Chilwell is the top choice to challenge him moving forward.
Manchester City are also very interested in Chilwell, who would cost around the £80 million it took City's rivals Manchester United to sign Harry Maguire in the summer. Leicester will also insist Chilwell does not leave midway through the season, so this would only become possible at the end of the campaign.
Chelsea believe they could match the ambition and financial package needed to sign Chilwell, 22, if he does fancy moving on.