It’s a new dawn at Chelsea FC this summer.
Frank Lampard has returned to Stamford Bridge, the ground he once ruled over as one of the best goalscoring midfielders in the Premier League.
This time, Lampard is replacing Maurizio Sarri as the club’s head coach. Sarri, despite a relatively successful season at Chelsea, was glad to get the opportunity to return to Serie A, taking over Max Allegri’s mantle at league champions Juventus.
Lampard, arriving from his stint at Derby County where he led the Rams to a promotional playoff spot, knows that he will have to play the hand he has been dealt at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea are currently limited by a new player registration ban.
The club cannot register any new players to their roster until next summer’s transfer window.
As a result, Lampard will be dependant on Chelsea’s youth players far more than any former Blues manager has been since the turn of the century.
Tammy Abraham is one of the most exciting prospects Lampard has at his disposal.
Abraham spearheaded the attack of Dean Smith’s Aston Villa team which beat Lampard’s Derby in May’s Championship playoff final at Wembley.
The on-loan striker didn’t score at Wembley but he had already notched 25 league goals in 37 Championship appearances to get Villa to the playoff spots.
Abraham will be confident of his chances of getting plenty of game-time in the Premier League next season under the new boss.
With Chelsea having bid farewell to Gonzalo Higuain and star player Eden Hazard, Abraham will be challenging Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi for that central attacking role.
Giroud is now 32 and Batshuayi is also returning from his loan spell at Crystal Palace so neither one is a shoo-in for the ‘number 9′ position under Lampard.
Christian Pulisic arrives from Borussia Dortmund with his signing completed long before Chelsea’s registration ban came into play. The USA winger, still only 20, will offer some much-needed dynamism from wide in Hazard’s absence.
Callum Hudson-Odoi will also be pushing for a starting place in Chelsea’s first eleven while, at 23, Ruben Loftus-Cheek really needs to make giant leaps in 2019/20. Loftus-Cheek has been considered a breakthrough talent for a couple of years now. He needs to show he belongs at a top-six club and this season is the perfect opportunity for him to do just that.
Could this registration ban actually be a help to Lampard rather than a hindrance? With no possible incoming signings, will the former West Ham midfielder be afforded more time than is normally allowed by Roman Abramovich?
Only time will tell.
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