After Liverpool romped to the Premier League title in 2019/20 in a Covid-disrutped campaign that saw the final two months played behind closed doors, Frank Lampard was handed a big warchest to go and hunt down Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Lampard has managed to surprise pretty much everyone to get the Blues into fourth spot at the end of the season, only missing out in third to Manchester United on goal difference.
Having had a transfer ban hanging over the club for the two transfer windows of the season, Lampard brought through the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori who all impressed last season.
Lampard was handed more than £200million in funds in the summer to begin reeling Liverpool back in. Hakim Ziyech had already agreed to join the club in January before his move was made official in the summer, while Lampard went big in the Bundesliga and recruited Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Ben Chilwell arrived in a £50million move from Leicester City while Edouard Mendy was brought in from Rennes as doubts remained over Kepa Arrizabalaga in between the sticks.
There were a couple of free transfers as well as experienced defender Thiago Silva arrived after his release from Paris St Germain. At the other end of the career spectrum, promising centre half Malang Sarr was signed from Nice as a free agent.
Almost six months on from their arrivals at the club, football.london has analysed the transfers Lampard made, taking a closer look at how they have settled in and how they have performed since Thomas Tuchel was appointed to replace the former manager.
The German striker arrived with a fearsome reputation in Europe as a prolific marksman but it hasn’t quite gone according to plan since he made the move to the Premier League.
After a fine start in the top flight with four goals in his first eight games, he’s scored only once more in the Premier League since November 7.
Lampard was unable to get the best out of Werner and that is one of a number of contributing factors in Lampard losing his job. Werner has improved under Tuchel since a switch in position but he’s only scored once for his new head coach.
Tuchel will be wanting and needing Werner to find his scoring boots in the run-in as Chelsea look to secure a top four place.
Werner’s move has not been a complete bust, but a lot more was expected.
The signing of a generational talent from Bayer Leverkusen always had some risk attached to it with Havertz being only 21 when he made the £71million switch from Germany.
Havertz has battled moving to a new country, a new team, being struck down with coronavirus in November and a couple of injury issues in what has been a very up and down debut season.
Tuchel has switched Havertz to a false nine which appears to have suited the young star very well. He’s yet to score for Tuchel and has found the net just five times all season.
The talent is clearly there with Havertz, it’s just coaxing it out of him and you suspect he could have a huge role to play in the run-in now he has found some form and, most importantly, looks to be back at full fitness.
After a good start to the season when Lampard was at the club having missed the opening four matches of the campaign with a knee injury, hopes were high that Chelsea had found their new creative force at the club as Ziyech netted a goal and three assist in two games.
But a hip injury sustained in December halted his progress and Lampard then rushed the Moroccan back from injury too quickly to face Manchester City which was the beginning of the end for the former manager.
Tuchel has handed Ziyech plenty of chances since he came in and after a slow start, it has begun to pay off as he scored twice in his last two games to help Chelsea progress in two cup competitions.
Playing more centrally as a number ten rather than wide in a front three, Ziyech is another player who now he has found full fitness could have a big role to play towards the end of the season.
Signed on a one-year deal, Silva looked every inch the Rolls Royce defender that he has been throughout his career as he established himself as first choice at the heart of Lampard’s defence.
The departure of the former manager and recruitment of Tuchel, who managed Silva at PSG, didn’t change anything as the Brazilian kept up his high performance levels but an injury in February against Spurs has seen him miss the last ten games.
The defender is back in contention for a return this weekend against West Brom and the indications are that he would like to stay another season and Chelsea do have the option to trigger a new one-year deal.
The Blues defence has been superb in Silva’s absence so it’s not a given that he gets straight back in the side. As free signings go though, Silva has been excellent for Chelsea and has also bought into the club and its identity.
The former Leicester man didn’t have any competition for his place after Marcos Alonso’s strop at West Brom when Lampard banished the Spaniard from the majority of his matchday squads with Emerson Palmieri not putting much pressure on his place.
Chilwell arrived as England’s first choice left back, a £50million price tag and a lot of expectation. He performed well for Lampard but certainly appeared to be running out of steam towards the end of the former manager’s reign.
Tuchel’s switch to a five-man defence has seen Alonso return to the fold and he has been sharing duties with Chilwell, whose own performance levels had dipped.
But in recent weeks, the England man has improved, a spell out of the starting eleven arguably serving him well. It’s been an OK season so far for Chilwell, not outstanding but not exactly bad either.
Lampard waited three games before making the worst kept secret in football known to all when Mendy belatedly replaced Kepa between the sticks as the undisputed number one.
Mendy has been an excellent recruit for Chelsea, despite a couple of errors, but for the majority it has been a very good debut season.
He’s kept 11 clean sheets in 14 games since Tuchel came in and made huge saves from Tyler Roberts against Leeds and Joao Felix against Atletico Madrid in important games.
That hasn’t stopped the Blues being linked with a move for Gianluigi Donarumma from AC Milan this summer but Mendy has shown he is a more than competent number one for an elite Premier League side.
The centre back was brought in from Nice in the summer on a free transfer and was immediately loaned out to Porto for the season.
Sarr has made 20 appearances for his loan club and could face Chelsea in the quarter finals of the Champions League though he faces a tough task displacing Chancel Mbemba and Pepe in the Portuguese side’s defence.
Chelsea will be happy with his development but another loan spell could beckon next season and the club also is looking at centre backs this summer as well.