Frank Lampard to head ‘joined-up’ Chelsea recruitment drive in January

Frank Lampard has insisted he will be at the heart of a “joined-up” recruitment strategy at Chelsea as the club prepare to enter the January market to bolster their hopes of a top-four Premiership finish.

Chelsea, whose transfer ban for breaking Fifa rules regarding under-18 foreign players was lifted after an appeal to the court of arbitration for sport, have been guilty of a lack of coherent planning, particularly regarding signings blocking the first-team pathway for academy youngsters.

Lampard arrived last summer with the club suspended from the market and he has blooded a clutch of homegrown players, most notably Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi have also featured. Many supporters would be disappointed if their progress were to be interrupted.

But Chelsea have £150m to spend and Lampard has made it clear he wants to widen his options. He wants a new attacking player and not only because he is likely to allow the out-of-favour Olivier Giroud to depart. He has been linked with a host of players, including Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Moussa Dembélé of Lyon. Two of the club’s wingers, Pedro and the in-form Willian, are out of contract in the summer.

In addition Lampard would take a left-sided defender, with Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké, formerly of Chelsea, a prime target and available for £40m due to a buy-back clause. Lampard also likes the Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell, although any deal for him is unlikely in January. Manchester City also want Chilwell.

“We are certainly joined up on recruitment,” Lampard said, before the New Year’s Day trip to Brighton. “I know we haven’t done anything yet so there is no proof in that but we are joined up. I have very close conversations with Marina [Granovskaia, the director], Petr Cech [the technical and performance adviser] and Scott [McLachlan], who is the head of our recruitment department.

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“They know what I want and I will be fundamentally in the middle of who and what we bring into the club. As it stands we are very open about that. If it feels right from my side, on the footballing point, in January, and from the club side in January, then we will make the moves we make. It is a joined-up effort.”

Lampard may have £150m to spend on players but it was revealed on Tuesday that the club recorded a loss of £96.6m for the year ending 30 June. The loss was contained in the club’s latest financial results but, after two profitable years, Chelsea insist they are still compliant with Uefa’s’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

“Consistent revenue growth and careful financial management over recent seasons has allowed the club to make significant levels of investment in the playing staff whilst maintaining compliance with Uefa regulations,” said chairman, Bruce Buck. “The club is well placed to sustain its pursuit of success both on and off the pitch as well as maintain its financial stability over the coming years.”


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