Chelsea’s season may have not ended the way Blues fans wanted but there is no denying that Frank Lampard made some steady progress in his first year as head coach.
A win in the FA Cup final would’ve been even better, however, Lampard did earn himself time to implement his model by finishing in the Top 4.
Securing Champions League football was crucial for his project and it is one of the main reasons the club was already able to attract a couple of the top European talents on the market.
Prolific German striker Timo Werner joined from RB Leipzig, while winger Hakim Ziyech made the move from Ajax a couple of months prior to that.
Both are very exciting captures and possess the perfect blend between youth and experience, a mixture that has proved very successful for Lampard so far.
Another huge development on that front was reported by several reputable sources this week. Veteran defender Thiago Silva announced his time with PSG is over and it seems like the London Blues will be his next destination.
I believe this is another shrew buy for the club, as, despite the Brazilian’s advanced age, his leadership qualities and track record will undoubtedly be very beneficial for Lampard’s young squad.
It’s all looking very promising at Stamford Bridge but does this team already has what it takes to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League crown next season?
Let’s look at some of the key aspects the manager will need to handle and then I share my thoughts on whether Chelsea can be a serious title contender next season?
What Can Propel Chelsea to the Top of the EPL?
I believe youthful enthusiasm was the biggest strong side and the biggest weakness of the team this past season.
The unbelievable start of life in the EPL for players such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, and Fikayo Tomori was as unexpected as it was terrific to watch but everyone was expecting that these guys will run out of steam at some point.
Injuries did not help either, however, I felt that Lampard could’ve acted earlier in introducing some of the more experienced players.
Giving more playing time to seasoned Premier League athletes such as Olivier Giroud, Marcos Alonso, Willian, and Pedro did stabilize the performance of the team but it was too late to make a meaningful push for the top spots.
The good news is that Chelsea did outlast the competition to clinch a place in the Champions League and this could all be a very valuable lesson for Lampard.
I’m not by any means saying that the manager should bench his young stars. They will be the core of his project for years to come and the reinforcements that have come in look like perfect options to get them a bit of cover and give them the means to concentrate on their development.
Ziyech and Werner are young players but they already look like established professionals and their experience at the top will be invaluable for the young guns like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham, and Mason Mount.
Adding 35-year-old Thiago Silva may not look like it will have too much effect on the pitch but getting such a seasoned warrior in the dressing room is always positive.
I’m certain Lampard will get along tremendously with the Brazilian as there are a lot of similarities in the way these guys handle themselves on and off the pitch.
And to top it all off, it looks like the Blues are very close to signing Ben Chilwell from Leicester City and Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.
There are hardly any people who will dispute these two players’ qualities and I reckon they will look amazing in Lampard’s face-paced and energetic squad.
Whether the deals go through or not, one thing is for certain. Frank Lampard seems to be able to not only improve young players but also attract top talent to the club.
Yes, Chelsea has always had the financial muscle to go for the best players since Roman Abramovich became owner, however, it was a big worry whether Lampard’s project will prove to be an attractive prospect for the marquee names.
Just a year later, this all seems like a formality as the club’s transfer dealings have been fantastic so far and the ability of Lampard to implement new pieces in his rotation can prove massive going forward.
Can Chelsea Win the League Next Season?
Absolutely. It will be a big achievement to topple Jurgen Klopp’s all-conquering side but I don’t expect that Manchester clubs will be any better next season.
There will be too much movement there and both clubs may lose some of the key pieces that have been doing the heavy lifting for them in the past several years.
Sure, reinforcements will be coming in, however, I feel that Chelsea’s transfer business has been much more organized and purposeful.
With the positions they’ve targeted and the personnel they’ve already acquired, the team looks set in every position.
The atmosphere around the club is quite positive and it feels like the players wholeheartedly trust their manager.
Lampard is definitely doing something right and it would be up to him to maintain the balance now that there are bigger expectations.
Next season will be an even greater challenge for him in my view but he has been impressive on the job so far and I wouldn’t bet against him.
It will probably be a bit too soon for the title given the competition, however, I fully expect Chelsea to have another positive season in the Premier League and I can’t dismiss their chances of catching everyone by surprise.