Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech transfers will set Chelsea to compete with Liverpool and Manchester City
Frank Lampard has made his intentions at Chelsea clear from day one. The club’s all-time record goalscorer has had Manchester City and Liverpool – the Premier League’s runaway duo – in his sights.
First there was the hurdle of the transfer ban, which saw Lampard turn to youth and blood the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James, a trio who could quite easily form the core of their side for years to come. But as a player at Stamford Bridge Lampard was never comfortable, never without competition to push him to his limit and the club to the top, and he wants the same for his players.
In spending more than a combined £90million on Hakim Ziyech, the Moroccan winger signed from Ajax in February, and now Timo Werner – who is set to complete his £53m move next week – Chelsea have thrown their full weight behind their manager’s plans.
The German international, who had been one of Liverpool’s top targets before priorities changed at Anfield, is Chelsea’s clearest statement of intent yet, a significant breakthrough coming on the day London rivals Tottenham, who under former Blues boss Jose Mourinho hold similar desires of silverware, took out a £175million loan to steer them through the coronavirus crisis.
Chelsea are on firmer ground financially, thanks largely to significant investment from Roman Abramovich, having spent nothing on new signings in the last two windows and the money secured in deals for Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata last summer.
Their work in competing with the top two once more is only starting, Lampard still has targets – including Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell – and problems to fix within his squad, who have been scintillating going forward at times but often at expense of a solid defence
The pressure on what was already going to be a shortened and complicated window thanks to the Covid-19 crisis has been eased, decisions on who must depart made clearer. Werner’s arrival, on a five-year-deal worth £9m-a-year, is the final nail in Michy Batshuayi’s time in west London with the Belgian set to be moved on permanently this summer. Pedro, 32, and Willian, 31, are likely to depart at the end of their contracts once the season is completed, Werner’s ability to play out wide further easing any fears of being left short on the flanks.
It will take time to break Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s duopoly, but before the window has even opened it is hard to argue that Chelsea have not catapulted themselves back to the top of the pecking order in London and have the tools in place to break free of the chasing pack.
A string of marquee signings will not undermine the work done with the academy graduates this season, it will move to accelerate their development at an even more alarming rate. The Blues have the ambition, the impetus and – perhaps most importantly now more than every – the money
Chelsea to offload seven players to fund Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell transfer deal
Chelsea are reportedly looking to offload up to seven players this summer to fund deals for Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell.
The Blues are rumoured to have seen off competition from Liverpool and Bayern Munich to sign RB Leipzig striker Werner, who has a €60m (£53.8m) release clause in his contract.
Leicester City full-back Chilwell is said to be Frank Lampard’s other big target ahead of next season, though he will set them back a further £60m.
In order to balance the books, The Mirror claims that a number of first-team squad members will be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge in the coming weeks.
Marcos Alonso, Jorginho and Kurt Zouma are all supposedly surplus to requirements, while Ross Barkley has also been told that he is free to find a new club.
Pedro and Willian are both out of contract and will soon be off the wage bill, meanwhile, and Michy Batshuayi is also set to be on his way out.
The report indicates that Newcastle United and Crystal Palace are in the running for Batshuayi, who is now even further down the pecking order following Werner’s imminent arrival.