It’s an exciting time to be a Blue. Frank Lampard, club legend is at the wheel, a dynamic and bold crop of academy products are blessing Stamford Bridge on a weekly basis, and the west Londoners are being linked with Europe’s elite talents.
TImo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have already signed on the dotted line to join the Lampard revolution, and the gifted name of Kai Havertz is also being tipped to make the familiar trip from the Bundesliga to the Premier League this summer.
It’s very exciting indeed. But with Chelsea flexing their financial muscles in this coming transfer window, they should do so with a degree of caution. The Premier League giants are already home to some of football’s greatest starlets, and with their young boss keen to help them grow into the next group of superstars, recruitment must be necessary, and not opportunistic.
Now, we’re not saying ‘Chelsea don’t need Havertz because they have Ross Barkley’, don’t get it twisted. But the likes of Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham must be wondering what future they possess at Stamford Bridge with this summer’s influx of offensive jewels.
And before we all start drawing up ideal Chelsea XI’s for next season, sporting adventurous 2-4-4 formations or Ziyech in the holding midfield role, we should accept that some of these stars are going to miss out on regular football. There’s no other way around it.
The Blues are blessed with a posse of wide players who boast bags of talent and energy, and that was summed up by the brilliant Pulisic on Saturday evening. The American orchestrated the 3-0 win over Watford from wide, torturing his marker and generally being a pest for his entire time on the field.
The winger won a penalty for the second goal, could well have won another late in the second half, and carved out chance after chance for his teammates. It speaks volumes of a player when he can be so selfless on the ball, yet still be the standout performer by a country mile.
Whisper it quietly, but there were shades of Eden Hazard in the 21-year-old’s dominance and authority on the pitch. He’s got so much time to improve, too.
But Pulisic was not alone in excelling. In a summer where transfers may be hard to pull off, with teams uncertain on their finances due to the coronavirus crisis, Chelsea already own a brilliant alternative in the form of Willian.
Although he is advancing in years, and can flit in and out of games, the 31-year-old provides an experienced head in a team of youth and vibrance. Is it really worth splashing £60m on another forward, when that money could be put to better use in the defensive half of the field?
That’s a question for the Chelsea board to answer, as they line up their targets for the summer window. But Lampard should be satisfied with the attacking options at his disposal, especially given that his backline has been the cause of his headaches throughout the season.
In the end, the bottom line for their spending spree should be: strengthen where necessary, and utilise what they have. But most of all – protect and nurture Pulisic at all costs, the boy is special.