Following the appointment of Frank Lampard in July 2019, Marina Granovskaia said, ‘We will do everything we can to ensure he has all the support required to be a huge success.’
After being stuck with a transfer ban in his first window and the club deciding not to pursue any targets in January, Lampard knew that it was imperative he got all his targets this summer.
With seven arrivals, six of them signed to come into the starting XI, you have to say the club delivered on their promise.
Having completed our business very early, there was no deadline day drama like the summer of 2016, or January of 2011, nor were there any regrettable buys similar to the purchases of Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater.
A lot has been made about the amount of money spent and the pressure that will bring to deliver silverware, but we must remember that Chelsea are playing catch-up having lost a year of recruitment.
Back in January there was a lot of frustration and anger within the fanbase at the club’s failure to recruit any players having successfully appealed the two window transfer ban. However, they quickly showed their intent with the swift signing of Hakim Ziyech in February.
Like every transfer window, Chelsea’s name was linked with a number of big players, but this time there was a feeling that the summer could end up being as good as the one of 2004.
Despite heavy links with Liverpool, we secured the signature of goal machine Timo Werner before the restart whilst rumours of a record move for Kai Havertz persisted.
In August, Ben Chilwell was signed and was the first of three in three days. The free transfers of Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva followed, which was some shrewd business by the board.
Soon after, the long awaited deal for Kai Havertz was finally completed adding to a stunning window. Goalkeeper Édouard Mendy was the final addition.
In previous seasons, we would have expected to see a last minute deal or two, the club settling for second or third choices. This season was very different. All incomings were completed with just under two weeks to spare, and you could definitely see a plan being executed.
One aspect that was evident was the insistence of signing first choice targets only. It is no secret that Ben Chilwell in particular was on the mind of Lampard for many months. The real desire to get him was proved further when it emerged that we had dismissed the opportunity to sign Telles and Reguilon for half the price. The board did everything in their power to secure a deal for the England left back.
The same could be said for Declan Rice as the midfielder was certainly a top target for Lampard. However, this time our attempts were unsuccessful as West Ham were determined to keep their star player and we struggled to trim our squad. Although we addressed almost all of our weaknesses, a defensive midfielder was definitely in Lampard’s plans. Our failure to recruit one highlights the desperation to sign the top targets only, with it being likely that we will renew our interest in Rice in January.
Our biggest signing of the summer was no doubt Kai Havertz. Some people raised their eyebrows at the fee, but this was an opportunity Chelsea simply couldn’t turn down. An extremely talented player, Havertz has the potential to become one of the best in the world. With the financial effects of the pandemic preventing teams such as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid from pursuing a deal, this seemed like a now or never moment for the club.
Not only did we make big signings, but we also made smart signings. Hakim Ziyech, for a bargain £33m, injects some much needed urgency and creativity into the midfield whilst Thiago Silva on a free gives us the leadership at the back we have been craving. Our best signing may even end up being Édouard Mendy, after many pundits highlighted Kepa as a reason for our potential downfall. With the help of Petr Cech, we may have solved that issue, as the Senegalese international has made a solid start to life in west London.
The influence of Frank Lampard cannot be overlooked, the project he and the board have sold is an exciting one and the allure of playing under the man himself is a very attractive proposition, the players themselves citing his presence as a huge factor for them joining.
It was never going to be easy to bed in six first team players at the same time, but the early signs are good. Havertz in particular has settled in very well and Timo Werner recently got off the mark against Spurs, the first of many goals for sure. With Ziyech still yet to make his debut, it will be very interesting to see how far this team can go this season.
If there was to be one disappointment in this window it would be the failure to shift some of the fringe players. Out of the first team players, only Barkley, Batshuayi and Loftus-Cheek managed to secure loan moves away in addition to Willian and Pedro leaving on free transfers. Departures for Jorginho and Hudson-Odoi were never on the cards, and deals for Tomori, Rudiger, Alonso and Emerson all fell through in the last day. This has left us with five centre backs and three left backs. Whilst the competition is healthy, it is bound to cause some unrest within the dressing room for those not getting regular game time, a challenge Lampard will have to quickly overcome.
Now the 10-week transfer window has finally shut, everyone associated with Chelsea can be very happy with the business completed. Having spent upwards of £200m, Roman Abramovich will no doubt expect a strong challenge for titles. However, he is far from finished. The next transfer window opens in just under three months and the board will continue to work and identify targets to improve the squad. Will the Declan Rice pursuit continue?