Will Transfers lead Chelsea to Challenge for the Title?
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Whilst not being a Chelsea fan, one cant stand idle and ignore what a stunning transfer window Frank Lampard has had.
To start with Chelsea, news that Hakem Ziyech had signed early on February inspired confidence within Chelsea fans- and rightly so. Whilst the eager anticipation of fans and the weight of a heavy price tag, 40million euros heavy, often lead to gross over estimations of a new signings ability, there is reason for optimism with Ziyech. Ziyech carving through the Real Madrid defence like a knife through warm butter still reigns strong in my memory. A performance which demonstrated his lightning pace but more so his, dare i say it, Messi-like dribbling abilities. His 2018-2019 stats further echo his talents, scoring 16 and assisting 13 in a stunning season which further featured 5 champions league goals which propelled Ajax to the semi-finals. Ziyech's form has carried on into the 2019-20 season with 6 goals and 12 assists and if injury free, as Chelsea fans wait with baited breath, Ziyech and Pulisic attacking force could be the devastating wingers Chelsea so desperately needed post Willian and Hazard era.
Chelsea however were not satisfied with just Ziyech and the Lampard era continued with the Bundelsiga duo sightings of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Werner scored a scintillating 28 goals in the Bundelisga last season, with 34 overall plus a handy 13 assists. You may think why has Werner, arguably one of the most inform strikers in the world not had more press or praise, well even an inform Werner has been overshadowed by arguably the Ballon D'or Manchurian candidate Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern striker's form has cast such a shadow over the Bundelisga not even Werner's brilliance has broken through Lewandowski's blistering form. However, importantly Chelsea have noticed and snapped up possibly the signing of the season in. Werner's hold up play and and clinical finishing will spearhead a previously striker-less Chelsea, with Giroud, Abraham and Batshuayi all playing hot potato with the role of striker.
Havertz on the other hand provides Chelsea with not just and exciting attacking midfielder but and creative player but also another goalscorer. Havertz, at just 21, has already demonstrated his finishing abilities scoring his first hat-trick for Chelsea just three matches into his Premier league career. Whilst goals are great it é the energy and dynamism that Havertz provides that can inspire and move forward this Chelsea team which had been guilty of being too lethargic in midfield, a midfield rife with defensive sideway passing players, Drinkwater, Jorginho, Kovacic, Kanté etc... Whilst there is plenty of talent in that midfield the over reliance on Kanté was made apparent last year as injuries plagued his season, but relying on your defensive midfielder to drive the ball forward and and create goals was a risk not worth taking into this season.
Chelsea's defence is arguably the weakest point of their team, as exemplified by their recent matches to Liverpool and Tottenham. However, the fantastic signing of Ben Chillwell from Leicester for a steal of 50million, justified given current day prices as-well as Mangala being 50 million, will sure up the defence but also provide a regular crosser. His crossing ability rivals that of Ward-Prowse and with a strong work rate, fostered by the talent factory that is Leicester City, Chelsea have a real talent on their hands. Whilst the signing of Mendy may seem to expose the failings of Kepa, their world record signing, i believe it shows the cruel yet smart recruitment strategy Chelsea seem to possess. This ruthless strategy i believe will prove dividends for Chelsea but whether the mix of so many signings can produce a fluent and well gelled side that can challenge for the title is a hard question to answer.
The combination of youth from Abraham, Mount, Zouma and James as-well as the experience and assured nature of Thiago silva and Giroud further provide the ingredients for a title challenging squad. Defensive frailties cost Chelsea dearly last year so the root of their success has to come from the back and the ever reliable captain Azpilicueta will be keen to plug the holes in what was one of the leakiest defences last season, conceding 54 goals- 16 more goals worse than the next top 4 defence. However, Lampard is in his second season and with the clear financial backing he has gotten through the summer expectations will be high and therefore i expect performances to fulfil these, as with a squad beaming with such fresh talent will make for a close knit title finish.
Top Goal scorer: Werner
Top Assists: Pulisic
Player of the season: Chillwell