Roman Abramovich has been at Chelsea since 2003. An Oil Rich Tycoon that changed the face of football within months of his arrival. One that seen the exalted Jose Mourinho the first to plunge into the owner’s pockets for an unlimited supply of world class players.
But he has maybe surprised some people by staying at Chelsea for 17 seasons. He has built them state of the art training facilities and his investment in their youth system is renowned around the world.
This week he has passed the 1 billion mark for transfers into the club and ended the week by saving his winning WSL team by personally backing them. Chelsea have finished their transfer ban from last season having to rely on bringing back some on loan players that were making waves in the Championship under Lampard.
But Chelsea have emerged from their hibernation with a bang this week when they confirmed the capture of RB Leipzig’s much coveted striker Timo Werner for the price of 50million. Therefore, it is always a nice thing to have an owner with not only such deep pockets but with deep intentions.
Liverpool have found out the hard way that despite their interests to bulk up their already impressive squad with Werner they must succumb to the economy and the uncertainty of future earnings.
Frank Lampard was a gamble when he took the reigns last season, but a calculated risk has paid off in spades for the Pensioners. No money to spend and an inherited squad that was fractured to say the least from the departure of Antonio Conte. The Chelsea board knew that Lampard would give them time to gather their breath and give the fans a sense of nostalgia that could see them through the season.
The fact that this coincided with a dip in form from their London neighbours Spurs and the struggles of internal battles at Old Trafford, Chelsea have emerged as late favourites to seal the coveted Champions League spot.
Having already sealed the signature of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax they have now added Werner to their books and are now in the market to go after Leicester City’s leftback Ben Chilwell to really show their intentions. This is a side that can already boast a midfield pairing of Jorginho and Kante.
This Chelsea squad has an embarrassment of riches going from midfield to forward, with players like Kovicic, Pulsic, Barkley, Pedro, Willian and Giroud all looking to make an impact despite not making this 11. But their issues now will lie in defence where Lampard must now surely try and bolster.
Cezar Azpilicueta is the standout player of the backline but around him there is a huge issue that will hamper Chelsea if not addressed. Since losing Gary Cahill and John Terry they are in the same company as Manchester United were in for years in trying to plug a hole with paper instead of cement.
Zouma/Rudiger/Christensen have been joined by the newly promoted Tomori this season but none have nailed down a regular place under Lampard. With the added issues surrounding their goalkeeper, a player who the manager clearly has no faith in – this will be the making of the breaking of this side.
Where Manchester United finally landed their 80Million solution in Harry Maguire. Chelsea have yet to solve their problem by using the owner’s money to finish this project.
Despite being linked with a host of players in attacking positions, we rarely see Chelsea mentioned when a player like Koulibally becomes the hot topic. If we have learned anything from the high-flying Liverpool over the past few seasons it is that by fixing the centre half issue will inevitably see your side move to the next level.
This next few months is pivotal for Chelsea as Lampard must ensure not to be caught in the race for the Top four. Then add the final few pieces of the puzzle to see the Stamford Bridge club make the next steps to reclaiming the league title they last won in just 2017.
But first Lampard will need to heal the rift between himself and his World Record Fee goalkeeper Kepa that somewhat stained his first season in charge. Then he can see exactly how bottomless the pit of money is that reigns over Stamford Bridge. If they can get their defencive appointments correct Chelsea could easily become the next credible challengers to both Liverpool and City.
Where every club team in Europe will be tightening their belts, Chelsea have taken a huge opportunity to close the gap at the top. This is one of the many times when having a rich and powerful owner pays off. For Lampard this is a great chance to make himself a double legend at the club.