The Blues boss was sacked on Monday, with his poor transfer record one of many things held against him
Recruitment has always been an essential part of soccer activity and success in sport.
With that in mind, Frank Lampard will surely be wondering if this was something he missed out on after being dismissed as Chelsea head coach on Monday.
Managers often live and die by the talent they can obtain, their ability to make the most of the players at their disposal, and their ability to forge a cohesive unity with their staff.
However, while Lampard has been praised for the way he has handled business in light of the club’s transfer ban and the sale of Eden Hazard in his first season at the helm, he lost a big part of the goodwill during his second campaign.
In large part, Lampard found himself under pressure due to his inability to forge a consistent winning unit from his cherished summer signings, with owner Roman Abramovich clearly expecting to see much more of his hefty spending.
“I’m not totally surprised, as much as I would have been this time last week,” Gary Neville, former Manchester United and England right-back, told Sky Sports News, discussing the exit of Lamps. “Rumors started to surface towards the end of the week that Frank was under pressure.
“When that happens at Chelsea the end is pretty much consistent where the rumors start to come out and then it happens pretty quickly,” he added. “I was a bit surprised when I heard the news as Frank has only had a short time with a new group of players, but he had a period last year when the club was under embargo on transfers, and that was almost protected. him.”
For Neville, the club’s big € 247.2million spend over the summer increased the pressure on Lampard and led to expectations he couldn’t meet.
“He did a great job during that time, but the minute the club started spending the money they had spent this summer and brought in these players, it was always going to raise a lot more expectations,” he said. Neville continued. “We know what happens at Chelsea when more expectations come, in the sense that they want instant results.
“With one of the biggest budgets in the league and the biggest transfer spending, expectations are higher, and at Chelsea for many years their approach to managers has been very consistent. Frank knew this when he took on the job.
Indeed, looking at these transfers and the 247.2 million euros of Abramovich’s money spent by Lampard, one can begin to understand why the veteran administrator of Russian football began to tremble.
Of his seven top-tier additions, two – Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr – arrived on a free transfer, and while the latter is one for the future, the former has been a valuable addition so far.
He immediately improved Chelsea’s defense after some difficulties last season – aided by the relegation of Kepa Arrizabalaga – and brought his extensive experience with AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team to the background of the Blues.
Even at 36, Silva has adapted well to life in a new league – and the intense Premier League – and his performances against Stade Rennais, Sheffield United, West Ham United and, recently, Fulham, have formed the foundation of some memorable victories. .
Likewise, Edouard Mendy – who arrived at 24 million euros in Ligue 1 – moved surprisingly quickly into the top flight, breaking numerous records, and representing an immediate upgrade on the hapless Kepa.
Granted, he’s had a few issues over the past few weeks, but after keeping six straight clean sheets – and for a bargain price in the basement compared to Kepa – he has to be considered a ‘hit’ for now.
However, Mendy’s nervousness over the past few weeks can, when the dust settles, be identified as one of the main reasons Chelsea have always looked more unconvincing throughout the season.
One could also argue that neither Ben Chilwell nor Hakim Ziyech are terrible additions, even if they haven’t shown their true quality so far.
The first – an England left-back signed from Leicester City for € 50.20million – is only 23, and still has time at the top as he seeks to reimburse his transfer fees.
He’s been struggling lately, but he’s impressed – especially moving forward – in his first few months at the club, and has contributed six goals so far this season.
Chelsea needed a new left-back, and the expense on Chilwell – if perhaps a bit steep – isn’t too far off the current pace for a player of his quality and experience.
Granted, Chilwell, Silva and Mendy improved Chelsea’s defense, albeit for the best part of € 75million.
Ziyech is a more complicated case.
There have been glimpses – notably in the standout performance against Sheffield United – that the Moroccan can bring his sensational creative skills to the top flight, but not quite at the same pace as in Eredivisie.
However, fitness issues slowed his progress early in the season, and later injuries during the campaign further limited his ability to make an impact at Stamford Bridge.
If Ziyech had retained his fall form throughout the winter, Chelsea might not be in the same situation but an assist in their last 10 outings tells a very sad story.
Can he regain his previous form under the replacement of Lampard?
Whoever replaces the Chelsea boss will be tasked with making the most of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, the Blues’ two biggest newcomers – and their biggest disappointments.
The former has scored four goals in his first eight games – including an irresistible display against Southampton where he scored twice and got an assist – to suggest he was familiarizing himself with English football.
However, he has since scored only once – against Morecambe – since November 7, and has failed to score in 15 of his last 16 games.
His confidence continues to drop and, at € 53million, he looks, worryingly, destined to become the latest in a long line of big, top-level strikers who have flopped at Stamford Bridge.
However, even his job is not as worrying as that of his compatriot and new boy Havertz, who arrived from Bayer Leverkusen for € 80million.
One goal and two assists in 16 Premier League appearances is a bad comeback from a much-anticipated player, and unless he improves dramatically, he could become one of the transfer flops of all. Prem time.
Even with his coronavirus diagnosis and some injury issues, Havertz hasn’t done much to suggest he can adapt to the elite.
Recruitment and transfer operations are essential parts of football’s business and of success in modern football. With so many question marks surrounding the staff signed up for such a large expense, it might not be surprising that Lampard found himself unemployed.