Frank Lampard: Chelsea Will Target 'Top-Calibre' Transfers in January Window

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Champion's League Group H football match between Chelsea and Lille at Stamford Bridge in London on December 10, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said the club will seek to secure "top-calibre" players in the upcoming January transfer window.

At the start of the season, it appeared unlikely the Blues would bring in any new faces this season, as they were serving a two-window ban on registering new players after a breach of FIFA rules. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport recently halved the sanction, meaning they are free to spend in January.

Speculation has intensified regarding Chelsea targets as a result, with Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell and Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha mentioned. Chelsea are reported to have a buyback option of £40 million on Ake, having sold the currently injured central defender to the Cherries in 2017.

Ahead of his team's clash with Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, Lampard was asked about that trio of reported targets, per Metro:

"We want a top calibre of player who can improve us. I won't hone in on those three but I've said before I'm happy with the squad. We have to look [at signing players] if we can. It is a joint-effort with the scouting teams, the board, the owner, myself. We work together.

"I will recommend players who can help us. I want players who want to come here and win and be a Chelsea player."

This season, the Blues have benefitted from the integration of a number of young players, so it will be fascinating to see how much the club is willing to spend in the January market.

Chelsea's win over Lille in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday ensured they progressed from a tricky group in the competition:

Alex Goldberg @AlexGoldberg_

This team isn’t perfect, they still have a long way to go, but if you’re b*itching tonight, you’re missing the point. One of the goals coming into the season was to get out of the group stage. That’s done now. Pour a drink, light one up, I don’t care, just appreciate this. https://t.co/swNcUX95yN

Beat writer Dan Levene outlined what he thinks the Blues' goals should be in 2019-20:

Dan Levene @danlevene

Chelsea made a meal of it tonight, but that's objective one of two this season sorted: Qualfied from the CL group stages ✔️ Any further in the competition is a bonus now. Objective two: secure top four in the Premier League.

While they have struggled for form in the Premier League as of late, losing three of their last four, Chelsea still sit in fourth spot heading into the weekend's matches.

At the moment, the dynamic between the players, manager and supporters is healthy, giving the current team a fresh feel at Stamford Bridge. Lampard will no doubt be wary of disrupting that harmony with a flurry of new faces midseason.

There are gaps in the squad to be filled, though. Following their 3-1 loss to Everton in their previous Premier League outing, Simon Johnson of The Athletic picked up on some weaknesses in the team that have reared their heads regularly:

Simon Johnson @SJohnsonSport

Post match prediction: Lampard will moan about Chelsea not being clinical enough in final third & making too many mistakes defensively, but still should have got more out of the game. It's been the theme for all their bad results this season. But script doesn't look like changing

Giving Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham minutes has been a triumph for Chelsea, with all three comfortable in the Premier League and set to be building blocks in Lampard's side. Blues fans will hope any deals that do get done will not stunt those academy products' development in the coming months.

Ake, Chilwell and Zaha would all bring extra quality to the ranks and aid the team's push for a top-four finish. However, it's difficult to envisage Bournemouth, Leicester or Palace selling for anything other than an astronomical amount halfway through a season.