Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of club legend Frank Lampard as their new manager. The former Blues star makes a sensational return to Stamford Bridge to succeed Maurizio Sarri and has expressed how ‘immensely proud’ he was to become Chelsea’s head coach.
Lampard possesses deep knowledge and understanding of the club, having spent 13 successful years there as a player. He is also regarded as ‘one of the most talented young coaches in the game’ after he guided Derby County to a sixth-place finish in the championship and, subsequently, the play-off final.
Yet the 41-year-old, who has just one season in management under his belt, faces the biggest challenge of his life after returning to work for Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich, the owner famous for hiring and firing managers at will.
A few challenges stare the young manager in the face right from his first day in the office.
The Transfer Ban
Chelsea are under a two-window transfer and have lost Gary Cahil, Eden Hazard, Gonzalo Higuain and Rob Green. That leaves Lampard short of players already. With Lampard unable to sign players, the former Manchester City star has to give youths a chance.
The club boasts of a host of highly-promising academy graduates who are still waiting for their chance to impress at the club. It is high time some of them made it to the first-team.
How Lampard is able to blend these greenhorns and the established stars together to forge a team capable of competing for the biggest prizes will determine how long the Blues legend retain his job.
The Playing Style
Maurizio Sarri’s singular season at Chelsea popularized the “Sarriball”. It was very one-directional, too laidback and very frustrating for the fans to stomach.
Lampard, an attacking midfielder in his playing days, should do better. If he favours open, expansive football, and sends out his team to be aggressive and to entertain, then he might be a winner.
Qualifying for the Champions League
With the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola already miles ahead in building their teams, only the most unrealistic of fans would expect the rookie manager to win the English Premier League next season.
But making the top four is a realistic target and anything short of that may heap a massive ton of pressure on the new head coach.
Replace Eden Hazard
This is the most unfortunate time for a manager to join Chelsea: immediately after the departure of a brilliant world-class player.
Eden Hazard was for a few years not only the Londoners’ best player but arguably the Premier League’s finest performer.
The Europa League holders have seemingly prepared for that shock loss and a likely transfer ban by splashing big on Christian Pulisic in January. He is a star set to shine.
However, Lampard would be smart to build a team that is less dependent on one player. A team that can allow other gifted stars to stand out and deliver.
Finally, Find a Successor For Costa
Not since Diego Costa has Chelsea had an accomplished striker in the true sense of the word. The Spaniard’s exploits helped the fans to forget the glory days of Didier Drogba, but those who have come into the team afterwards have failed to flatter.
Alvaro Morata. Olivier Giroud. Gonzalo Higuain. Two of those flopped so badly they have been pushed out of the club.
It is left to be seen if Lampard will give Tammy Abraham the chance to lead the Blues attack. If his strikers deliver, then Lampard may be on his way to successfully transform from being a legendary player to being a successful manager.