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How Frank Lampard Will Change Chelsea for His 2nd Season in Charge

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportFebruary 7, 2020

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Manager Frank Lampard gives the travelling fans a thumbs up after the match the Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea FC at The King Power Stadium on February 01, 2020 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)
Visionhaus/Getty Images

You did not need a body language expert to decipher that Frank Lampard was not happy with Chelsea's transfer window. As the hours ticked down and the likelihood of a signing disappeared, he became more agitated.

In his last press conference before the deadline, he seemed anxious and frustrated. As he spoke of the signings being made at other top clubs, he labelled his side as "underdogs" to make the top four.

Chelsea failed to make a single addition in the January transfer window, but it was not for a lack of trying.

The most publicised pursuit in those final hours was of Napoli forward Dries Martins, but other serious forward options were explored as the Blues put their transfer ban behind them and began thinking about the next phase of Frank Lampard's reign.

Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner were big-name targets—more on that later—but other short-term options never got off the ground. 

For example, Salomon Rondon of Chinese club Dalian Yifang was offered to them in the final two days of the window, but Lampard was adamant he did not want another face just for the sake of it. He has certain standards he is trying to uphold and did not want an Odion Ighalo-type signing just to make up numbers.

As the summer recruitment process begins to now step up, B/R has been told by sources that character and personality are two key attributes that Lampard and his backroom team are prioritising when it comes to strengthening.

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So much has gone into integrating academy products within the setup that they can't risk players like Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount or Callum Hudson-Odoi becoming disillusioned by the impact of new additions.

Lampard does not have full control of signings, but he has had a major say on potential deals like those for Sancho or Wilfried Zaha. He knows that one wrong move on a big-money signing could lead to his removal from the manager's seat.

Chelsea want to keep the youngsters motivated and grounded yet inspired for next season, so we have looked into how we should expect each area of the pitch to be affected.

                   

Goalkeeper

The future of Kepa Arrizabalaga is under consideration and has been since the end of last year, according to B/R sources. 

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea shouts instructions during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea FC at American Express Community Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Lampard has serious concerns about the position and fears the rest of the team do not feel safe with Arrizabalaga between the sticks.

Of course, this is not his area of expertise, having spent his entire playing career in midfield, but it is understood he reached out to his goalkeeping experts for full analysis on his stopper's game. Lampard has also instructed recruitment staff to begin the process of drawing up potential signings for next season.

Burnley keeper Nick Pope is emerging as one of the top names on their list of targets if Kepa is to be replaced. There is some concern over how much they would be able to sell their goalkeeper for, though—it is going to prove almost impossible to recapture the £71.6 million they paid Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

              

Defence

There are two issues to deal with here for Lampard, who wants a new first-choice left-back and, ideally, a new top-level central defender.

Ben Chilwell is the priority target at full-back, though a shortlist is being drawn up because the Leicester man is sought-after by a host of other clubs.

They also admire Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli as a leading option if he becomes available. 

One problem that will become obvious in this article is the price of all these deals—it's impossible to sign them all and remain within financial fair play rules.

So when we get towards the end of the campaign, the priorities will be lined up and Lampard will also have some big decisions on player sales to balance the books.

                

Midfield

A lot depends on what happens with N'Golo Kante, who could be the player to attract the biggest offer in the summer. Chelsea know there is interest from Real Madrid, but will they follow through with it?

Chelsea's French midfielder N'Golo Kante (L) vies with Leicester City's English midfielder Hamza Choudhury during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Chelsea at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on February
ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

There is a strong belief in Spain that both Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe are going to be targeted first, so Kante could be waiting on those situations to pan out.

It's difficult at this stage to assess exactly how Lampard will look to strengthen in the middle of the parksources say there are many different scenarios and styles of player being examinedbut Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio is one name that constantly crops up.

                

Attack

There is so much being weighed up in this area, and the push for signings began weeks ago when Sancho and Werner were both pursued, according to sources close to the club.

The Borussia Dortmund man will continue to be chased, but Lampard is keen for time to make sure it's the right deal for him and the team.

BREMEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 04: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund controls the ball during the DFB Cup round of sixteen match between SV Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund at Wohninvest Weserstadion on February 4, 2020 in Bremen, German
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

It's a tricky one—Sancho is going to cost more than £100 million, and Manchester United and Manchester City are also watching the situation. The best way to get this deal in place is to make an agreement early.

Contacts close to Sancho have always stated that it would be ideal to decide his next club before UEFA Euro 2020 begins in June, but B/R sources in Germany are indicating that Dortmund might hold out longer.

They feel the club will wait to see how he plays at the tournament and hike his price up accordingly if his play generates further interest.

Chelsea's hierarchy is not concerned about the money he will cost—the Blues still have the Eden Hazard cash from Real Madrid to spend—but it is aware that Lampard wants to be sure about him.

The club have been put off Crystal Palace's Zaha because of doubts over how he would react to not being a guaranteed starter and whether he could perform consistently at the very top level.

Similar background checks are being made on Sancho, with the quality of his play already assured. Chelsea will also need to convince him of their selling points and ambition, but there is a feeling he is open to the idea of joining.

In terms of a striker, Lyon's Moussa Dembele remains a key option. The club did briefly consider Gabriel Barbosa—aka Gabigol—of Inter Milan before he completed a switch to Brazilian side Flamengo.

Character, confidence and creativity are going to be key to Chelsea as they move forward, and Lampard is determined not to get this wrong as he shapes the side for an ambitious 2020/21 campaign.