Lampard has £150m to beef up front line

LONDON • Frank Lampard has revealed that he wants attacking reinforcements next month, after Chelsea secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a nervy 2-1 Group H victory over Lille on Tuesday night.

The Blues' two-window transfer ban was cut in half last week, meaning they can sign players next month, and the club are monitoring Jadon Sancho, Timo Werner, Wilfried Zaha, Moussa Dembele and Fyodor Chalov.

Lampard has a budget of £150 million (S$268.2 million) and he aims to use that war chest to make his side more potent up front after a late scare against their French Ligue 1 opponents almost saw them drop into the Europa League.

Chelsea failed to build on first-half goals from Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta as Lille managed to halve the deficit thanks to a late effort from Loic Remy.

"I will look at all areas of the team, but it was quite clear in the summer that you lose Eden Hazard, who was a huge part of scoring or creating our goals," the manager said. "If we can we get better in forward areas, then we'll always look at that. We're just not converting enough."

But Lampard, who is also contemplating a move for Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake - he has a £40 million buyback clause following his 2017 transfer from Stamford Bridge - accepts it will be difficult to bring in the right players in January.

His side finished runners-up to Valencia on head-to-head record after the La Liga side won 1-0 in Amsterdam to knock out last season's Champions League semi-finalists Ajax.

On Rodrigo's winner, which ensured the visitors' first appearance in the knockout phase since the 2012-13 season, club president Anil Murthy yesterday said: "We're very happy. It has been seven years since we have reached the last 16 and we did it in a very tough group."

He also expressed his delight the team had gotten over the dismissal of Marcelino in September, with new coach Albert Celades steadying the ship.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2019, with the headline 'Lampard has £150m to beef up front line'. Print Edition | Subscribe