Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has banned players of the club from talking about their transfer ban. The Blues were slapped with a two-window transfer ban during the January transfer window after they were found guilty of irregularities with regards to the signing of young talent.
“I don’t want – and I said this to the players the first time I spoke to them – I don’t want talk of the ban, I don’t want talk of what is success, what might be success, and any lowering of standards,” said Lampard.
“I want to set out as we should do. And when I looked around the room I was looking at top players everywhere, and a big squad full of quality.
“Can we remain competitive when we are in this position? I believe we can.
“And we just have to accept that and use the challenge of what we’ve got and have absolute belief in what we’ve got because I think with the ban it’s been very easy to write off this squad somewhat.
“What matters is how we approach it and if I was a Chelsea manager who said ‘I’ll settle for sixth place this season or fourth place, or even second place’, that’s not the mindset.”
The ban would have affected the club’s aims for this season
Virtually nobody will doubt the fact that the transfer ban has impacted the Blues ambitions for this season. They have been forced to utilize young talent this season and are not really expected to challenge for the league title as they were expected to do during every other season since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. Chelsea are seen as firm outsiders for Premier League glory this term, with bookmakers rating websites featuring a host of firms offering in the region of 66/1 for the Blues to pull off an unlikely victory. It will be very impressive if Lampard manages to help the club to a top-four finish as well as sustained runs in the cup competitions.
As a result of the Blues transfer ban, they were unable to bring in direct replacements for Gonzalo Higuain, Eden Hazard, Gary Cahill and David Luiz. Cahill and Higuain failed to really sparkle last season but the departures of Luiz and Hazard (in particular Hazard) will have a profound impact on the West London club.
The Belgian was by far the Blues best player last season and played a huge role in creating and scoring goals. Lampard will have to rely on youngsters such as Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount to fill the void left by his departure. Whether they can do so successfully remains to be seen.
Higuain’s departure means that the striker role will likely be shared by Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and possible Michy Batshuayi this season. Giroud was mainly used for Cup competitions last season so it remains to be seen whether the young Abraham who showed plenty of potential at Championship level will manage to score a lot of goals in the Premier League this season.