Football: Chelsea's success next season hinges on transfer ban being lifted, says former striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will be in town to catch Chelsea's English Premier League game against Manchester United on April 28, 2019, with local fans at the Clarke Quay Fountain Square.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink will be in town to catch Chelsea's English Premier League game against Manchester United on April 28, 2019, with local fans at the Clarke Quay Fountain Square.PHOTO: OFFICIAL_JFHASSELBAINK/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE - Maurizio Sarri should be given more time as Chelsea manager, but the club's success next season will also depend greatly on whether it succeeds in getting a transfer ban lifted.

That's the view of former Blues striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who will be in town to catch Chelsea's English Premier League game against Manchester United on Sunday (April 28) with local fans the Clarke Quay Fountain Square at the Football Moments event, presented by Chang Beer and organised by Singtel Media.

A win would strengthen Chelsea's hopes for a top-four finish, which also ensures qualification to the Champions League next season. The Blues are fourth on 67 points, one ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal and three head of United in sixth, with three games left this season.

Hasselbaink felt that Chelsea - and Sarri - have to make a statement they are going in the right direction by beating United.

The 47-year-old told the Sunday Times: "The team started the season really well and the expectations were raised because the team went 12 games unbeaten and were top of the table, but a lot of (observers) knew they could not maintain the position because they don't have the squad that Manchester City or Liverpool has.

"Sarri came in with a totally different football style which other teams eventually adapted to, and Chelsea themselves have not really adapted to these changes.

"Sunday will be a very important match and Chelsea must show they can beat a top-six rival away, something they have not done all season.

 
 
 
 

"And once the season is over, you have to look at the plusses and minuses, and then build on that by giving Sarri more time because the club already made a decision to go with his style by appointing him in the first place."

The Dutchman also believes that Chelsea need to strengthen their squad in the summer, with the London club facing the prospect of losing their top striker Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.

But it will depend on whether the Blues can overturn the two-window transfer ban Fifa slapped onto the club in February for breaching rules related to the signing of players under the age of 18. Chelsea have appealed against the ruling.

Hasselbaink said: "Chelsea definitely need to strengthen the squad, regardless of whether Hazard stays or goes.

"They need a better balance, and in midfield, they also need more creativity, like how Manchester City has in players like Kevin de Bruyne.

"They also need a leftback, centrehalf and most importantly, an out-and-out striker that is top quality."

Hasselbaink (1999, 2001) and Ivorian Didier Drogba (2007, 2010) are the only two Chelsea strikers to top the Premier League's scoring charts in the last 20 years, and he believes he knows why Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain (four goals in 14 games) has struggled since his loan move from Juventus in January.

Hasselbaink said: "You need to be at your physical peak in the Premier League. It's a lot quicker and more physical than the Italian Serie A or Spanish LaLiga.

"Higuain is (31), he needs time to adapt... If he was 26 and arrived in the Premier League, it would have been easier for him, and I am sure he would have done well."