EPL

Transfers key as Lampard hopes for 2020-21 Chelsea title bid

By Sports Desk December 31, 2019

Frank Lampard hopes Chelsea will be able to take a huge leap to challenge Liverpool for the Premier League title next season but acknowledges recruitment will be key.

Chelsea served a transfer ban ahead of the current 2019-20 campaign, which was then reduced to ensure the Blues can make signings in January.

Lampard, appointed at the start of 2019-20, will get the opportunity to influence Chelsea's involvement in the transfer market for the first time, but he already has the team in a healthy position.

Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League table, inspired by academy stars Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, and Lampard hopes their talented prospects can be boosted by new recruits before 2020-21.

"I definitely don't want to declare [a title challenge] at this point," Lampard told reporters ahead of facing Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

"Liverpool might have something to say about it - they're 20 points more than us. That has to be the aim.

"The transfer ban was one thing. It gave us a chance to look at the players, see what we've got, look at the youth, and I think that's been good.

"The more and more I see us play, the good and the bad, you change your feeling about how you want to go forward, but the end game is the same. Once we can start bringing players in and the young players hopefully mature, we want to bridge that gap to go up there.

"Whether that can happen next year, I don't know. That'll depend on the work we do and how quickly it hits home, but I'll certainly not leave any stone unturned in how I work to get us there.

"There are too many variables. We'll have to get recruitment right - that'll be a huge deal. It's not just whoever the individual is who comes in but can they help influence the way we want to play and improve the way we want to play.

"Because I've got a clear idea of what that is and it didn't look like the first 30 minutes [against Arsenal]. But we've shown at times this year that we've got a chance."

Lampard is confident Chelsea's transfer plans will be effective as he works with director Marina Granovskaia, technical director Petr Cech and head scout Scott McLachlan amid links to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and RB Leipzig's Timo Werner.

"We are certainly joined up," he said. "I know we haven't done anything yet, so there's no proof in that, but we are joined up in that I have very close conversations with Marina, very close conversations with Petr Cech and Scott, the head of our recruitment department.

"They know what I want and I'll be fundamentally in the middle of who and what we bring into the club. As it stands, we're very, very open about that.

"So if it feels right from my side on a footballing point in January, from the club's side on a club point, then we'll make the moves we make. But it is a joint up effort."

Related items

  • Vardy earns Guardiola praise as Man City boss salutes Leicester striker Vardy earns Guardiola praise as Man City boss salutes Leicester striker

    Pep Guardiola has hailed Jamie Vardy as an "exceptional player" whose game is tailor-made to torment Manchester City.

    Guardiola's team travel on Saturday to take on Leicester City, the against-all-odds 2015-16 Premier League champions whose success has owed plenty to Vardy's goals.

    It is a battle of second against third in this season's top flight, with Guardiola's team currently four points ahead of Brendan Rodgers' Foxes.

    Vardy leads the league's scoring charts with 17 goals in 24 appearances, putting him one ahead of Guardiola's star marksman Sergio Aguero.

    And Guardiola believes it is obvious why Vardy has enjoyed success against his City team in the past, pointing to the high defensive line the speedy striker has been able to exploit.

    "Because we play 40 metres in front, it's perfect for him," Guardiola said.

    "Jamie Vardy scored goals against us and against all the teams, because in the box, in the final third, he's exceptional.

    "He's one of the better strikers I've ever seen in movement, in finishing, in high pressing. In many things he's an exceptional player."

    Vardy has netted five times in 11 Premier League games against City – no one has scored more top-flights goals against a Guardiola side across his spells in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the current English champions.

    However, 33-year-old Vardy is also mired in a goal drought, having not netted in his past eight games, six of which have been league fixtures.

    Leicester have hit a sticky patch collectively but still sit nine points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea going into the weekend.

    Guardiola knows that form could flip in an instant, with Leicester having shown in the first half of the season what a strong unit they are, and what an impressive job Northern Irishman Rodgers is doing at the King Power Stadium.

    "I said when we played before, in our home game, how impressed [I was]," Guardiola said.

    "I know the incredible job he did at Liverpool, but I was not here. I saw him when he was at Celtic in Glasgow and I thought, 'Wow, this team plays good and aggressive and had good vibes'.

    "They have incredible organisation at Leicester, with good scouting. They know exactly what they have to do, and it's nice to see teams play as well as they play for the benefit of English football, to have this kind of manager and a team playing this way."

  • Andre Gomes could start for Everton against Arsenal – Ancelotti Andre Gomes could start for Everton against Arsenal – Ancelotti

    Andre Gomes is available to feature for Everton against Arsenal on Sunday, with Carlo Ancelotti open to starting the midfielder.

    Gomes has been out of action since November after suffering a serious ankle injury in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Goodison Park.

    The playmaker's absence, along with injuries and suspensions to Morgan Schneiderlin, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fabian Delph, has left the Toffees lacking in midfield options at times in the intervening period.

    However, the former Barcelona player returned to training in January and, after completing a 60-minute training match this week, has now been passed fit to return for Sunday's clash with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

    Everton sit two points ahead of Mikel Arteta's side, with both clubs chasing European qualification, and Ancelotti is prepared to start Gomes if the player feels he is ready.

    "Andre is available to play. He trained well, properly, with confidence and without problems," Ancelotti, who added Theo Walcott is likely to miss out through injury against his former club, told a news conference.

    "My opinion is he is ready to play. Before the game we are going to speak together and decide whether he can start the game or if he goes on the bench.

    "We have very important games. Now we have to focus on Arsenal, then we have Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. After we can see what is going on for Europe."

    Everton are in search of a third successive Premier League win, with the Toffees having lost just one top-flight match since Marco Silva was sacked in early December.

    Goals from Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin ultimately sealed a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace last time out, though Jordan Pickford's mistake had allowed Christian Benteke to cancel out Bernard's opener.

    Ancelotti, though, has complete faith in the England international goalkeeper.

    "To be England number one is a big responsibility," Ancelotti said. "He deserves this because, in my opinion, he is the best English goalkeeper.

    "In the game against Crystal Palace he made a mistake but then a fantastic save. You can have a mistake, but you need the personality to move on quickly.

    "Jordan is really important for us, he is a complete goalkeeper."

  • Bale left out for Levante trip despite Zidane's plaudits Bale left out for Levante trip despite Zidane's plaudits

    Zinedine Zidane defended Gareth Bale's performance against Celta Vigo, yet the Wales forward has not been included in Real Madrid's squad for the trip to Levante.

    Bale started and played 84 minutes on Sunday, as Madrid were held to a 2-2 home draw by Celta, who equalised late on through Santi Mina.

    "I think Bale played a good game and we have to keep thinking that there's a long way to go and we have to think about what we all do on the pitch to improve it," Zidane said in the wake of the draw.

    However, Bale will not get the chance to continue in Madrid's XI this week after he was left out of the squad for the clash with Levante.

    The 30-year-old has reportedly been struggling with a stomach bug, which meant he was unable to train on Wednesday.

    Striker Luka Jovic has also missed out – with the Serbia international reportedly suffering from the same issue – while Rodrygo and Nacho do not feature in the 19-man squad.

    Eden Hazard, who made his comeback from injury against Celta, is included.

    Madrid have been boosted by the return to non-contact training of Marco Asensio, who has missed the entirety of the season due to a knee ligament injury.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.