It has been a bit of a flat end to Chelsea’s season, what with losing the FA Cup final to Arsenal, and then travelling to Germany to face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, 3-0 down from the first leg. It was a chastening second leg as well, with the Bavarian side winning 4-1 to crush Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate. These two matches have put a bit of a dampener on what was arguably a satisfactory debut season for Frank Lampard in the Chelsea dugout
Chelsea were overtaken by Manchester United in the table on the penultimate gameweek, and the club finished in fourth place rather than in the third place spot they had occupied for most of the season. Nevertheless, it still represented success for Lampard, whose remit was to qualify for the Champions League, which he delivered while blooding several youngsters into the squad. The Chelsea management have moved quickly to back him in the transfer market, with deals for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner already agreed before the end of the season. Both these attackers have arrived at the club now, and they will improve the quality of Chelsea’s attacking play by a huge margin. However, while elite attackers are always sought-after, it is in defence where Chelsea need to strengthen urgently.
The Blues are strong favourites on most betting sites to sign Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz as well, although they arguably should be spending that money on their defence. Chelsea conceded 54 goals in the league last season, which is an alarming statistic, and they were worryingly susceptible from set-pieces as well. Lampard needs at least one quality defensive recruit, but the club will also need to be able to move on some of their existing defensive contingent to make space in the squad. They have been linked with West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, who they believe is better deployed at centre-back, while Leicester’s Ben Chilwell is the preferred left-back option. However, both these players are likely to cost at least 80 million each, and with the club already having spent on Werner and Ziyech, not to mention the 70 million or so it will cost to bring Havertz over from Germany, it will add up to a lot of money. Yes, Chelsea do have funds left over since they did not spend anything over the last two windows due to their transfer ban, and they also received the fee from Alvaro Morata’s sale to Atletico Madrid this summer, which has also bolstered their coffers. Nevertheless, it is a question of priority, and the focus should be on defensive recruitment at the moment.
Chelsea are in a solid position at the moment, able to offer any targets Champions League football, while being in London has always been an advantage as well. However, they will not come close to challenging for the title, or in Europe, if they continue with their defensive performances from last season. It is thus imperative that Chelsea’s planned spending spree is targeted towards their defensive recruits first before looking to bring in Havertz to Stamford Bridge.