The Frank Lampard revolution looks set to continue at Chelsea this summer.
Multiple veterans of the Stamford Bridge dressing room have already been moved on over the past year and more look set to follow this summer.
Two of the most prominent are long-serving forward duo Willian and Pedro Rodriguez, who have been at the club for a combined 12 seasons between them but who are both out of contract this summer.
Former Spain international Pedro moved to West London in the summer of 2015 from Barcelona and has won a Premier League title at the club, alongside successes in the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.
Few players are more experienced than Pedro; he won 20 major honours with Barcelona – including five league titles and three Champions League successes – while also winning the World Cup and European Championships for his nation. His exit, along with that of Willian, will leave a gap in experience but equally will provide the club with an opportunity to invest in others.
The Tenerife-born forward has been a fringe figure this campaign for Frank Lampard’s side but the boss is showing signs of giving more youth players a chance in the first-team. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount are high profile attacking examples of such a policy, alongside the inclusion of signing Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, who will arrive from Ajax.
But despite the imminent arrival of Ziyech, Chelsea still appear to be one player down on their attacking roster from this season – which is widely acknowledged to be a body or two short. This is before contemplating exits for Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi. So what players may the club decide to invest in this summer?
One of the most obvious and high-profile contenders is Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona. The Brazilian is on a season-long loan deal at Bayern Munich but, despite the German club having an option to make the move permanent for £100million this summer, it appears he will return to the Camp Nou. The Catalan giants are desperate to offload the playmaker to make some headway on their wage bill – football’s largest – and to raise vital funds in order to reinvest elsewhere in their squad.
The Premier League appears to be the only likely destination for the former Liverpool player due to the financial demands around any deal, whilst there have been rumours that when Coutinho – who has played 76 games for Barcelona – reaches the 100 game milestone for the Spanish champions, they will owe Liverpool a further £16million as an added clause from his January 2018 move.
It is logical for Coutinho to move to West London, while he could also add some much needed creativity and ingenuity in the final third for Chelsea. This is a player who has already proven himself in England – indeed, the best form of his career came at Anfield – and is hungry to prove a point. Aged just 27, this is a move that – if an adequate financial agreement could be found – would make sense for the Blues.
Another potential option is Bayer Leverkusen star and Germany international Kai Havertz. The 20-year-old appears to be the upcoming star of German football and looks set for a move to an elite club sooner rather than later.
Somewhat predictably, Bayern Munich have been heavily linked alongside El Clasico giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. Yet Chelsea may be a sounder alternative – offering European football, the chance of trophies, a competitive wage and, most importantly of all, regular first-team games. The jump from the Bundesliga to the Premier League is a natural one and, like Coutinho, Havertz would instantly command a starting spot at the Bridge.
He has already clocked up 139 appearances over four seasons at Leverkusen and is going from strength to strength in his career. Chelsea are well stocked in wide attacking areas but need more creativity in a ‘number 10’ role in the middle of the pitch.
After their FIFA-imposed transfer ban and a January of no incomings, Chelsea will be one of the clubs to keep an eye on as they continue to rejuvenate their squad.