BY OKEMBOZIL ROCKER
On Thursday this week, Chelsea announced Lampard as the 14th different manager they had engaged, since a certain Russian arrived with enough money in the British Isle to change the landscape of English football.
Lampard himself is a bonafide club legend, their highest ever goal scorer with 211 goals in all competitions and a crucial member of their modern trophy hauls. His managerial level can be confidently filed under inexperienced as his only previous gig is at championship club Derby County.
But that managerial experience should not deceive you, he seems to have an inkling of what he is doing. He could turn to be more of a Zidane than a Thierry Henry.
What does he expect at Chelsea?
He takes over the reins of a club serving a two-window transfer ban for breach of regulation regarding the transfer of players under the age of 18.
Chelsea had an initial appeal of the ban rejected by Fifa earlier in the year and it was initially thought that they would then appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sports, but it now seems they may not appeal. This means the earliest Chelsea could show their muscle in the transfer window is June 2020.
The club also lost their best player and arguably the league’s best to some Spanish parasite, and have to plan without him.
With the ban not being appealed its imperative that Lampard has to make do with what he has.
There have been mumblings among Chelsea supporters for a while particularly those of English conviction about the lack of opportunities for players from their famed academy, for the first time then it seems these players will be given a go at the first team.
The striking conundrum
The striking will be Lampards biggest headache. Higuain was more round than he could move and Chelsea rightly rejected the chance to sign him on a permanent basis. Morata has a Spanish exile and not many tears will be shed if he remains there permanently.
That leaves Giroud as the only proven striker on Chelsea’s book. The world cup winner may have been the top scorer at EUFAs second tier competition, but he has been rather shy to find the old onion bag in the Pemier League. It’s thus, inevitable that one of Chelsea loan army men will be called back to fill the gap – Tammy Abraham seems the likeliest candidate.
They secured the mercurial Pulisic in January, are nearly tying down Odoi to a longer contract despite the flattering glances from Bavaria. Add to the tried and tested Willian and Pedro then their wing play looks well covered.
Their midfield remains their strongest position. What remains to be seen is if he will retain the poor mans Xavi at the center of the park or if he will return Kante to his natural habitat.
The defense is also not shabby with a few loanees coming back to shore up things but the permanent loss of Nigerian left back Aina for a measly 9 million pound will surely hurt.
What do Chelsea fans expect?
Noises from Stamford Bridge indicate the Russian will give him at least two years to work his magic. He is different from his chain-smoking predecessor in that he doesn’t fancy sterile domination a stick use to beat the Italian schemer. He is not an incarnation of Tony Pulis nor does he believe in the ethos of total football.
In the championship he was described as coach with a plan who seemed flexible enough and a good reader of the game. Only time will tell if he will be Thierry Henry or court the success of Zidane.
The writer is an ardent sports enthusiast and a keen commentator of the game.