Blues boss will have big say in transfer strategy

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard arrived last summer with the club suspended from the market.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard arrived last summer with the club suspended from the market.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Frank Lampard has insisted he will be at the heart of a "joined-up" recruitment strategy at Chelsea as they prepare to enter this month's transfer market to bolster their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

The Blues, whose transfer ban for breaking Fifa rules regarding under-18 foreign players was lifted after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, have been guilty of a lack of coherent planning, particularly regarding signings blocking the first-team pathway for academy youngsters.

Lampard arrived last summer with the club suspended from the market and he has blooded a clutch of home-grown players, most notably Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi have also featured.

Many fans would be disappointed if their progress were to be interrupted.

But Chelsea have £150 million (S$268 million) to spend and Lampard has made it clear he intends to widen his options.

He wants an attacking player and is likely to allow the out-of-favour Olivier Giroud to depart. Two of their wingers, Pedro and the in-form Willian, are out of contract in the summer.

The Blues have been linked with Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund, Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and Lyon's Moussa Dembele.

In addition, Lampard would want a left-sided defender, with Bournemouth's Nathan Ake, formerly of Chelsea, a prime target and available for £40 million due to a buy-back clause.

He is also eyeing Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell.

"We are certainly joined up on recruitment," the Chelsea boss said before yesterday's trip to Brighton.

"I know we haven't done anything yet, so there is no proof in that but we are joined up. I have very close conversations with Marina (Granovskaia, the director), Petr Cech (the technical and performance adviser) and Scott (McLachlan), who is the head of our recruitment.

"They know what I want and I will be fundamentally in the middle of who and what we bring into the club. As it stands, we are very open about that. If it feels right from my side, on the footballing point, in January, and from the club side in January, then we will make the moves we make. It is a joined-up effort."

He may have £150 million to spend but it was revealed on Tuesday in the latest financial results that the club have recorded a loss of £96.6 million for the year ended June 30.

But, after two profitable years, Chelsea insist they are still compliant with Uefa's financial fair play regulations.

"Consistent revenue growth and careful financial management over recent seasons has allowed the club to make significant levels of investment in the playing staff while maintaining compliance with Uefa regulations," said chairman Bruce Buck.

"The club is well placed to sustain its pursuit of success both on and off the pitch as well as maintain its financial stability over the coming years."





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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2020, with the headline 'Blues boss will have big say in transfer strategy'. Subscribe