Chelsea are one of the biggest clubs in the world, but there is a feeling this summer things could change at Stamford Bridge… for good. There is a transfer ban over the Blues, Maurizio Sarri has left and so has star player Eden Hazard. Meanwhile, in Frank Lampard, they have appointed a manager who has just one year of experience in management, and that too in the second tier. The feeling among many Chelsea fans is that this could be a crucial summer in the future of the London club.

It’s true that Christian Pulisic joining Chelsea this summer and he is one of the best young players in Europe, but he is not going to able to replace Hazard straight away. Mateo Kovacic has been signed on a permanent contract, but the former Real Madrid star did not exactly win over everyone at Stamford Bridge last season. The likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Willian are still there, but there is a nagging feeling that something is missing at Chelsea.

This is why expectations for next season should be tempered. Give just how strong Manchester City and Liverpool are and the quality of players they possess, it is hard to see the Blues competing with Pep Guardiola’s and Jurgen Klopp’s team. Tottenham Hotspur are also making signings in the summer transfer window, while Manchester United and Arsenal can only get better. Just like last season, Chelsea will be in the fight for the Premier League top four and not for the league title, and just like last season, they will have to be satisfied with a Champions League place.

It will also be interesting to see how Lampard gets on at Chelsea. The former England international midfielder did a great job at Derby, as the Rams progressed to the final of the playoffs despite against all Championship betting odds. Although Derby played good and entertaining football last season, the fact of the matter is that they could not get promoted – they lost in the playoff final against Aston Villa in a game that mattered the most. Chelsea fans might cut Lampard some slack given his legendary status at Stamford Bridge, but the club’s chiefs will not show too much patience if results are not good and the team get knocked out of the Champions League early.

With the first and the second spots to be decided by Manchester City and Liverpool, the other two Champions League places will be up for grabs, and that is what Chelsea should strive for. A run in the FA Cup or the EFL Cup would be great, but what the Blues have to be focused on getting the fourth spot sewed. It is going to be extremely hard, as they will not be able to strengthen their team like their rivals will, but Lampard has to find a way to manoeuvre through these difficult times. If not, then Chelsea could become the new Arsenal.