The transfer ban imposed on Chelsea could turn out to be a blessing in disguise as the Blues attempt to reconnect with the fans and roots of the club.
Chelsea were hit with a two-window transfer ban on February 2019 by the football governing body, FIFA, in lieu of violations pertaining to acquisition and registration of players under the age of 18. The imposed ban has since, sparked a domino effect, with many of the club’s decisions highly reflecting of the influence of the ban.
But, can this be a boon for the club, that has been touted as nothing but a money-making machine when it comes to youth? Some might say the Blues are already beginning to reap the benefits of the decisions that have followed the ban. We explore some of those in this section.
Not many would actually have thought about this, but would Frank Lampard be Chelsea manager if the club did not have a transfer ban? First of all, the transfer ban hindered Chelsea’s ability to attract top managerial candidates. Also, it would be very difficult for any incoming top manager to do much with the squad at hand without having the ability to improve it.
Enter Frank Lampard, who has already had a successful season at Derby County, albeit with a similar task at hand. With Lampard coming back to Chelsea, it would also win the fans over, who would not turn on the manager for invariable results compared to what may have happened if the Blues brought in a top name.
In fact, if you consider permanent managers in Chelsea’s history, Lampard is the first British manager to be in charge of the club since Glenn Hoddle, who managed till 1996. There have been 15 foreign managers since, with Lampard breaking the streak.
Regardless of the result of the Lampard experiment, Chelsea will have positives to gain from it, while also subscribing to the prospect of a change in overall image of the club.
Back to the Roots!
One of the major benefits of the transfer ban is the prospect of opportunities available to the youth at Chelsea. Frank Lampard has already made Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham a regular fixture in the Chelsea starting eleven.
Add to it the chance given to Fikayo Tomori against Sheffield United, the prospect of more youth coming in once Reece James regains full fitness and the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek return from injury and Chelsea might have an academy core in the starting eleven for the first time in ages. Even Billy Gilmour was handed his Chelsea debut against Sheffield United.
There has long been a debate as to why Chelsea have done brilliantly in the youth level with the Under-18 Premier League, FA Youth Cup and even the UEFA Youth League, but have not seen players make the jump from there to the senior level successfully, often owing to the lack of chances.
But, this season under Lampard, Chelsea fans are likely to see a hefty number of youngsters being given a chance to impress and prove they are good enough for the first-team. Whether they are or otherwise, will depend on how they take their chances.
A Natural Solution to the Home Grown Quota dilemma
There was a time when Chelsea had struggled to fill up the desired quota of English and homegrown players within their Premier League squad. There were reports Chelsea would start targeting English players to do away with the aforementioned problem.
But, the chances given to youth as a result of the transfer ban will result in alleviation of the problems. Mount, Abraham, Tomori, Reece James and Loftus-Cheek are likely to be regulars in the first-team squad. Even if there are additions to the squad next summer, these players will definitely form a part of the first-team, if not as starters.
A season of refreshing football
Chelsea Vs Leicester City Defensive Transition
– Second ball shape around an aerial dual
– Block forward passing lanes
– Chelsea intense Counter press pic.twitter.com/rDydbddQCq
— Modern Football Analyst (@analyst_modern) September 9, 2019
Chelsea fans have tasted a lot of success in recent times. But, it has come at a cost. While the likes of Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri delivered trophies, their style of play was something Chelsea fans found hard to subscribe to, to an extent.
The aforementioned trait reached a boil during Sarri’s short regime at Stamford Bridge, with the squad seemingly not being able to fully adapt to Sarri-ball and the manager insistent to play his own brand of football. In the four league games and the UEFA Super Cup penalty loss to Liverpool, we have seen Chelsea play extravagant football.
The fluidity in attack and the freedom provided to players is something that has rarely been seen in recent times at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea may have just 5 points from four Premier League games so far, but it is more down to their defensive lapses and inexperience more than anything else.
Chelsea fans will be aware how difficult the season is going to be. But, at least, they can find solace in the exciting brand of football their team seems to be attempting to make a staple at Stamford Bridge.
A new Image
There are lots that can fit into this sub-section. Be it breaking the stereotype of Chelsea youth not being offered a chance in the first-team setup, going for big-name managers, relying on transfer windows to aid success on the field and more, Chelsea’s image is in for a massive change in world football.
By the end of the 2019-20 campaign, we could see a British core being formed and perhaps Frank Lampard proving himself enough to secure his future in the long run.
To top it off, if Chelsea manage to win a trophy by the end of the season, it will break the stereotype that a large chunk of Chelsea’s success has to do with money after the Roman Abramovich era, see a shift in how the club looks at the prospect of transfers and hiring managers and also prove that youth can also usher in success at Chelsea.