It’s a strange time to be a Chelsea fan. While fans of other rivals have celebrated the arrival of Nicolas Pepe at Arsenal, signing of Rodrigo Hernández at Manchester City and the capture of Harry Maguire by Manchester United, the Blues fans have had to take a back seat and wish the transfer window come to an early close.
Since the moment owner Roman Abramovich walked in to Stamford Bridge, the Blues supporters have developed an insatiable hunger for big-money signings and an in-flow of world-class footballers and coaches.
Andriy Shevchenko, Hernan Crespo, Michael Essien, Adrian Mutu, Deco, Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and several other expensive buys have, at one time or the other, held a special place in the Blues dressing room and in the fans’ hearts.
— Anirbit (@AplusCFC) August 6, 2019
Handicapped in the transfer market by a punitive transfer ban, the Stamford Bridge giants are pinning all their hopes of a successful 2018-19 season on a bunch of young talents who are unproven in the English Premier League.
And the same technical bench sat on by successful gaffers likes Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti is presently being occupied by a rookie manager with only a single year in management.
It really does not look good on paper.
But the story is different on the field of play.
Away from unnecessary publicity and undue attention, Frank Lampard is quietly, but surely, building a team aggressive in midfield and exciting in attack.
In their last four preseason games, Lampard’s men have banged two goals each past Barcelona and Borussia M’gladbach, scored four against Reading and painted Salzburg red with five goals. The likes of Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Pedro have been among the goals.
It does not appear like they have lost a player of the caliber of Eden Hazard at all.
However, if Chelsea and Lampard are to produce a season to remember, three key players must step up the plate: Christian Pulisic, Hudson Odoi and Willian.
The American winger grabbed three goals and three assists in only six games as the United States made it to the Final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup earlier this year.
It is time for the youngest non-German to score in the Bundesliga and the youngest player to appear and score for Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League to make his mark in the English League.
Only just 18, Callum Hudson Odoi leaves no one in doubt about his talent and quality. Adding the end product to his game can literally turn him from being a 30 million pound-rated forward to a 200 million pound-rated superstar.
He will have no better chance than these next ten months to prove his indispensability to this young team. In the six years that Willian has been at Chelsea, he has won two league titles but should he lead the Blues to be league champions this season, it would be his greatest achievement yet.
The Brazilian midfielder has been handed the jersey left behind by Hazard, a coded message that the club expect him to step into the Belgian’s shoes. For a player that has never been known for being prolific, that may be near impossible.
However, he will have to cough out much more than the three goals he contributed to the cause last term. Or else, a top-four finish might even be a pipe dream for the west Londoners.
There may be no new signings coming in through the doors at the Stamford Bridge, but indications are clear that the talents that abound in the side are capable of surprising everyone, including themselves.