7th August 2021 , Chelsea Transfer News Roundup

Romelu Lukaku

The Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea deal is completed.

Chelsea will pay Inter €115m (£97.5m) for Lukaku and no Chelsea players will be going to Inter.

Lukaku will sign a five year contract and get €12m net + add-ons per year. (Fabrizio Romano)

Lukaku will be the highest earner at Stamford Bridge as he will receive about £195,000 a week after tax. (The Athletic)

Lukaku will undergo a medical in Belgium on Sunday and will travel to London that night or early Monday morning to complete £97.5m move.

The striker didn’t plan to exit Inter this summer but Inter’s financial crisis made it necessary. (David Ornstein)

Image Source : 433

Tammy Abraham

Atalanta board have a meeting scheduled in London with Chelsea in the next 48 hours to ask for Tammy Abraham as main target. Price tag around €40m.

Arsenal and West Ham interested also.

Atalanta will bid for Tammy if Inter try to buy Duvan Zapata as Lukaku replacement. (Fabrizio Romano)

Tammy is not in a rush and he will not be forced out of the club.

Arsenal appeal to him the most out of three clubs interested as of now (mind may change after talks with Atalanta). (Dan McCarthy)

What Aston Villa's £30m transfer decision means for Arsenal in £40m Tammy  Abraham chase - football.london
Image Source : Football LDN

Declan Rice

Declan Rice has accepted that he will be staying at West Ham this season after their £90m valuation blocked a potential move to a Champions League club. (Daily Mail)

Declan Rice stance on joining Chelsea or Man Utd after returning to West  Ham training | Football | Sport | Express.co.uk
Image Source : Daily Express

Jules Kounde

After Lukaku, Chelsea will pursue more signings and will look to find a deal for Kounde. The Frenchman has always been the favourite option as centre back but a fee has not been agreed yet. (Fabrizio Romano)

Sevilla are already looking for a new centre back which increases the hope that Kounde will be a Chelsea player before the end of the window. (Fabrizio Romano)

Jules Kounde: Age, height, boots, girlfriend, stats, salary |  FootballTransfers.com
Image Source : FootballTransfers

N’Golo Kante and Jorginho

After Lukaku deal is done, new contracts for Kante and Jorginho will be discussed after summer. (Fabrizio Romano)

Man Utd must 'pay whatever for Sancho' and find Jorginho-Kante axis
Image Source : Football365

Written by Frankie



NOW WE ARE TALKING! | Chelsea 2-0 Dortmund Review The Chelsea Spot Podcast

  1. NOW WE ARE TALKING! | Chelsea 2-0 Dortmund Review
  2. Scared, Potter?

GET IN THERE! In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho), Dan (Admin – @DanBarkerCoach) and Danny (Writer – @danny_new_) discuss last night’s incredible victory against Manchester City in the Champions League final. Talking about our instant reactions to the game, Thomas Tuchel propaganda, THAT Mason Mount pass to Kai Havertz and so much more!

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Jovacic vs Atletico Madrid – Not Convincing

I am not really sure how we’re still having this conversation. People get carried away like nothing and it seems as if some Chelsea fans had done when Jorginho and Kovacic were putting up sound performances again under Thomas Tuchel in the three at the back formation. Admittedly, the partnership worked well and they were moving the ball a lot quicker than we’ve seen them do before, but it really shouldn’t be a surprise that they were able to do so against the weaker teams.

Yes, Spurs are a good team, but they didn’t press us in midfield, and not many other teams did. But, our first opposition who expected to give us problems in midfield was Southampton, and they certainly did. Kovacic gave the ball away a few times in bad positions, and Jorginho’s 10 minute substitute cameo was shocking. Kante lacked the final pass, but at least looked extremely comfortable defensively, making multiple tackles and interceptions.

After Southampton, we had Atletico Madrid last night, again another obvious challenge for Jovacic. I tweeted at 18:40 yesterday that not starting the French midfielder was pretty criminal, as I simply do not think this Jorginho-Kovacic partnership is good enough for the big games. They do not have any positional awareness, and even though we had a lot of possession yesterday we failed to create much through the centre. I understand that Kante’s not amazing in progressing the ball but even Jorginho struggled to make some simple passes yesterday, and N’Golo is better defensively, so he really should’ve started, right?

Anyway, here’s a tactical analysis of some of the moments in our Champions League game which got me screaming at the TV and *specifically at Jorginho*, but Kovacic can take the responsibility with him because why not. At the end of this article I’ll try and give my solution to what I’d do in midfield, but if I’m being honest, I never have and never will be convinced by Jovacic. (Sarri Twitter please don’t come for me). All images via hdmatches.net.

30 seconds in…

Half a minute into the game, and it started off terribly. Kovacic picked up the ball on the left hand side which is fine, and had Alonso and Mount in front of him. For some reason, Jorginho runs all the way over to Kovacic. Mateo attempts to pass it to the Italian midfielder, who gets muscled off the ball like nothing, and, as you can see in the image, leaves so much space in behind him. Mason Mount had to track back and pick up a yellow card to stop their counter which is normally ruthless, and now he misses the second leg. This pretty much summed up the next 5 minutes, where we on another day may have found ourselves 2-0 down.

Another counter attack…

We lose the ball high up the pitch, which is fine. If there’s one place you want to lose the ball it’s high up, so you still have your midfielders back to track back. Oh nevermind, not with Jovacic. For some reason, Jorginho follows his man who drops deep into Atletico’s half, and obviously he was never going to win the ball when chasing someone (mainly because it’s Jorginho but I won’t let my agenda be clear too much). He gets easily turned, and the opposition had the chance to break with a lot of space. In this case, Kovacic did well and forced them to the right hand side which slowed them down, but it’s still another example of the gap between the midfielders being way too big.

We got lucky…

8 minutes in, and I’m already on three screenshots, yikes. That distance between Kovacic and Jorginho isn’t actually that bad, but when they have 4 quite narrow as they do here, that’s a problem. Ideally, Jorginho takes a touch and passes it to Kovacic, but instead he misplaces a pass to Mount which is easily intercepted and once again they break on the counter, this time almost creating a huge chance at the back post. Kovacic is too high up the pitch to come back in time and fortunately our defence bailed us out this time.

Too slow…

In this image, Jorginho gets caught in two minds once again. Saul pushed forward a bit from his deeper position, and Jorginho had to choose between pressing him or sitting back and waiting for him to come. Jorginho decides to try and tackle their midfielder, but chooses 2 seconds too late and he plays a simple 1-2 with Joao Felix to go past the Italian very easily. Space is easily found behind Jovacic and they create another chance, which this time was cleared by Rudiger after some lovely football.

My stream has paused and I think I should probably leave it there as I’ve posted 4 images in 12 minutes, so I’m sure there’s a lot more in the other 80 minutes of the game which I’ll leave you to find. Next time they play together, just have a look at them, and you’ll see the amount of space they leave behind them. Here’s a clip of Jorginho getting skimmed which backs my point, and to be honest, it’s quite funny.

I’d also like to make this clear: this is not Jorginho or Kovacic slander. This is simply my opinion and I actually quite like both – I think Jorginho seems like a great presence in the dressing room and that Kovacic is a brilliant squad player to have. But are they able to take us to the next level? And while playing together? I really don’t think so.

So what would I do? It’s difficult, for sure. First of all I’d definitely start Kante – that’s a must for me. He runs around so much and is brilliant defensively – and people act as if he’s much worse than the others on the ball. He really isn’t. Then, it’s not easy, but I do want to see Mount next to him. Our good friend Konark got quite a lot of hate for suggesting this, but I really do think this could be our future. Mount mastered the #8 role under Frank Lampard, and next to Kante could show some real balance. He’s played a very similar role next to Declan Rice for England, and I have no doubts he could do the same in Blue. He’s also taking up one of the front three positions at the moment, meaning Pulisic, Havertz, and Ziyech all find themselves on the bench, but by dropping back he could open up some space for one more of our attacking threats. My next option would be Billy Gilmour by preference, but that’s not happenning, so probably Kovacic, who definitely can put in a brilliant performance when he wants. In other words, no Jorginho please. I repeat – Sarri fans please do not come for me.

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Written by Paree

Can Returning Loan Army Soldiers Reinforce a Stellar Summer Window?

Chelsea have been the talk of the football world this summer following an extremely ambitious, decisive period of transfer signings. Over the past calendar year, the club welcomed Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic to the fold permanently, and followed that up with Hakim Ziyech putting pen to paper in the late winter just 3 months after THAT comeback against Ziyech’s Ajax. Of course, Frank Lampard and Co. then kicked off summer with a bang, bringing Timo Werner aboard and in recent weeks finishing off long-rumoured signings Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz as well as a cheeky Thiago Silva stop along the way. The club were put in a position to bring these players in however due to the impressive form of a handful of academy debutants, who played a major part in a 4th place finish. That was just the tip of the academy iceberg though, as this offseason we welcomed back another handful of young players loaned off to the far stretches of Europe. Can they have a similar impact to their counterparts and take Chelsea even further this year?

It’s no secret that Chelsea’s 2019-2020 campaign was impressive, but at the same time it was also unimpressive. The team regularly lacked a central defender with either positional awareness, aerial ability, the ability to actually make a tackle or all three – arguably bar Kurt Zouma. With Antonio Rudiger’s football agent talents on full display this summer, he is sure to have added another year onto his Chelsea lifeline at the very least despite the number of ghastly high profile errors he made last season. However, Rudiger’s friends Timo Werner and Kai Havertz aren’t the only talents coming from the Bundesliga to Chelsea.

Enter Ethan Ampadu, who for the third consecutive offseason has been pegged by Chelsea fans as a potential breakout star in defence and in midfield. This time however, Ampadu has yet again found himself out on loan, this season at Sheffield United with manager Chris Wilder running the show. Besides Ethan Ampadu in defence, returning are Jake Clarke-Salter and Matt Miazga. Who? The soon-23 year old and 25 year old center halves each made their senior debut in that 2015-16 season under Guus Hiddink, and only Miazga played in any senior Chelsea match since then (just one additional appearance). With 3 senior Chelsea appearances between them in 4 seasons, it’s probably a make or break time as the Loan Army XI is going to be welcoming some new faces. Miazga filled in for Cahill and Terry pretty admirably for a then 20 year old from the MLS, and Terry pegged the younger Clarke-Salter as his potential replacement and also remarked that he was a vocal player. While that could still happen, Clarke-Salter is now buried behind Zouma, Silva, Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and even Fikayo Tomori.

In addition to our defensive struggles, Frank Lampard has also had to battle with inconsistency in the midfield from time to time. With some ho-hum impact-less performances from Jorginho and N’golo Kante either injured or at times giving his best headless chicken, the base of the midfield is in a tepid situation at best. With this summer bringing about Declan Rice rumors, West Ham have been sure to protect their young star with a hefty rumored £80 million price tag. While Rice is a promising midfielder with the versatility to play at the back as well as the intangibles of a captain, the price tag does not suit a team who have already spent a fortune since the late winter while upgrading the team much more than Rice ever would. Chelsea might have better luck trying out other local options, which include the returning Tiemoue Bakayoko and Conor Gallagher, injury prone Ruben Loftus-Cheek or the recovering Billy Gilmour as understudies to either Kante or Jorginho. It seems highly unlikely that Frank Lampard would trust young midfielders to command the base of the midfield in such a promising and high pressure second season at Chelsea, although Conor Gallagher does have much more experience than the higher regarded Gilmour. Bakayoko isn’t a sexy option by any means and hasn’t always looked the part in a Chelsea shirt but hasn’t really played under tactics that fit his style. And, when comparing his 16/17 metrics to Rice’s 19/20, there isn’t a whole lot that separates the two. With the addition of Kai Havertz, a pivot of a more disciplined and refined Bakayoko and a healthy Kante could still be devastating to play against. With a move to Milan on the cards, he might not be seen in a Chelsea shirt again but I maintain that he’s at least worth a shot if he stays with us longer than anticipated. Additionally, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is more known for his power and offensive prowess, but giving him a try at the base of a midfield with some coaching might be a good move for him at this stage in his career in a bid to stay healthy and still play. The oft-injured midfielder would bring size and more technical ability than Kante and Jorginho combined and perhaps give Chelsea a little more kick in the final third, as well as someone who can win in the air and on the ground.

It’s been an exciting and also unnerving period for us fans after all the transfers and newly lofted expectations along with the uncertainty of some of the others on the current squad. However, it’s important to remember that even the greatest managers, such as our own Special One, and some of the greatest sides ever, never won without a little bit of experimentation along the way.

Ranking Chelsea’s 20/21 squad from ‘Star Player’ to ‘Must Be Sold!’

Chelsea have already confirmed the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech and are expected to have a busy transfer window with the club looking to offload a number of squad players.

But where do the new signings rank amongst the squad? Who should be starting every week? Who needs to be sold?

Well, here’s my rankings from “Star player” down to “Must be sold”

Tier List made via tiermaker.com

As you can see, the list is quite ‘bottom heavy’ with a large number of players thrown into the must be sold category. The likes of Bakayoko, Batshuayi and Pedro feature as they look destined to be moved on by the club and I doubt many Chelsea fans would disagree. There are, however, some admittedly controversial picks in this tier.

Jorginho is a player who has drastically divided the fanbase ever since he signed for the club in 2018. Since the restart, Jorginho has been out-of-favour and Chelsea managed to win four out of the five league games in which the Italian midfielder didn’t start, scoring an impressive 12 goals in the process. Due to injuries to both N’Golo Kanté and Billy Gilmour, Lampard was forced to hand Jorginho his first start against Sheffield United and The Blues were thumped 3-0 with many describing the performance as the “worst of the season” and Jorginho faced the brunt of the criticism due to a lacklustre display. Despite beating Norwich 1-0, Chelsea put in another fairly disappointing display which lacked urgency, tempo and attacking quality. Yet again, Jorginho started this game and for me, he’s a big part of the problem.

I personally don’t dislike Antonio Rudiger as much as most Chelsea fans seem to. I think he does offer some leadership and certainly has a physical presence which most of his peers lack, however if I’m being completely honest (and harsh) he simply cannot defend.

Image Source: Chelsea-News.co
He’s a central defender… who can’t defend!

So, not only do I think Rudiger should be moved on but I also believe his calamitous partner Andreas Christensen has had more than enough chances at the club. These two are an actual comedy spectacle when they line up next to each other and while Andreas is still young and could improve, I just don’t think he’s suited to be a Premier League centre-half. Although he’s welcome to prove me wrong!

Finally from the bottom tier, Kepa has to be sold. I’ve never witnessed a goalkeeper at the top level struggle to stop shots so badly. The club are reportedly interested in Jan Oblak and Andre Onana, both of whom would massively improve our squad, so Arrizabalaga has to go.

Just as a caveat, Willian has been included in the ‘must be sold’ category solely based on his contract situation, otherwise I’d be happy for him to stick around for a year as a squad player.

The boys in the ‘loan’ list are fairly self explanatory. The teenage lads from the academy could do with a season on loan in the Championship or even League 1 to get acclimated with senior football. I’ve chucked Kenedy in there too just because I think he’s hugely underrated so I’d like the club to keep him on the books, but it looks likely that he’ll be leaving on a permanent basis.

Image Source: Sportskeeda

The squad players section was fairly easy for me. Not all 23 first-teamers can be ‘world class’ (unless you’re Manchester City) so we need a solid bench consisting of players who can come into the squad when needed and make an impact. Players who “offer something different” are key throughout a squad and the likes of Olivier Giroud, Ross Barkley and Marcos Alonso all tick that box. Giroud has proven his value since the restart and is still a goal threat, while Barkley has actually impressed at times throughout the season and by all accounts works extremely hard to improve himself. The reason I’d keep Alonso around is because he gives us the option to switch to a three-at-the-back system whereas Emerson, for me, just offers very little.

There’s absolutely no reason why both Billy Gilmour and Tammy Abraham cannot be starters next season. They both have the quality as they have proven already, but due the signing of Timo Werner and Lampard moving Kanté into a deeper role, I think that they may not be nailed on to start week-in week-out next year but both will certainly play a crucial role in the long-term.

The regular starters that I’ve selected are a perfect blend of youth and experience in my opinion. Azpilicueta has proven to still be a quality captain and player throughout the season and I believe that Frank Lampard is a big fan of the spaniard, Reece James is also battling for the same position though and deserves to be a starter so we may see ‘Dave’ continue to feature as a left-back. However, if we do sign Tagliafico, Telles, Chilwell or whoever it may be then that could knock one of Azpilicueta or James down a tier.

It’s pretty much impossible to fit all of Kovacic, Mount and Loftus-Cheek into one starting eleven but all three players offer different skill sets which are incredibly valuable to this Chelsea side. Mason Mount has been the club’s player of the season for me, his quality both on and off the ball is outstanding and to have contributed so much in his debut Premier League season is hugely impressive. He’s absolutely key to Frank’s system and therefore should and will start the majority of games next season wether we sign Havertz or not.

Image Source: 90min

I honestly believe that a fully fit Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one of the best players in the Premier League. He’s the definition of ‘complete midfielder’ and can offer both a goal threat and be a creative outlet. His physical strength combined with immense technical ability when in full flight makes him a defender’s nightmare and if he can get back to his best next season then he has to be a starter.

Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi have both suffered injury problems as of late but are two of England’s brightest talents. Zouma and Tomori’s partnership in the first half of the season was far from perfect but was certainly the most encouraging central defensive set-up we’ve seen. Chelsea fans rightly love Hudson-Odoi and despite all of his off-the-pitch issues this season he has the quality to set the standard for young Premier League players next season.

Werner, Ziyech, Pulisic, Kantè. Is that the best “big four” since the Warriors lined up with Curry, Thompson, Draymond and KD?

Edit by @AAZChelsea

Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are nailed on to be top, top players next season for Chelsea. They’re two of the most dynamic and exciting players in the Premier League and will improve Chelsea’s already strong attack ten-fold. Christian Pulisic’s form since the restart has all Blues fans convinced that he’s the real deal, adding goals to his game and beginning to remind fans of a certain Eden Hazard due to his immense dribbling ability. N’Golo Kanté’s inclusion as a star player needs no justification, despite injury issues this year he’s clearly a world class player who would start for any and every team in Europe.

So, that’s my personal ranking of next season’s Chelsea squad. Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know @TheChelseaSpot

*I (stupidly) forgot to include Ethan Ampadu in this tier list. Personally I’d like to see him as a squad player next season but he could benefit from another loan.

What does Kanté’s move to a holding midfielder mean for Lampard’s system going forwards?

Image Source: Daily Mail

When Chelsea kicked off against Aston Villa following the break in the 2019/20 season, there was one selection more than any other that raised eyebrows. It wasn’t the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the left wing, or even Olivier Giroud ahead of the fit-again Tammy Abraham at centre forward: it was N’Golo Kanté playing as a holding midfielder. To many casual fans, this has always been his strongest position, but in reality he hasn’t played there since the disastrous 3-0 defeat at the Emirates in September 2016, when Mesut Özil gave him a torrid time (after the match Antonio Conte famously changed to a 3-4-3 formation which won Chelsea the league, with Kanté crucial in a midfield pivot). Subsequently the Frenchman has started against Manchester City, Leicester and West Ham in the same position. So what does this tactical shift mean going forwards for Frank Lampard’s side?

When Lampard was unveiled as the new Chelsea manager back in the summer of 2019, he was asked whether he knew where he would play Kanté this season, replying, “yeah I do, thankfully”. Following the switch to a 4-3-3 from a 3-4-3 after the appointment of Maurizio Sarri in 2018, Kanté was shifted from his preferred role in a midfield pivot to a more attacking-minded number 8 in a midfield three, a move which angered fans and caused debates around the footballing world. So everyone was keen to see what Lampard thought his best position was, and from the answer he gave, many inferred that Lampard would play him in a pivot. However, following the 4-0 opening day drubbing by Manchester United (Kanté was only fit enough to come off the bench) where Chelsea played a midfield pivot in a 4-5-1, Lampard has reverted to the 4-3-3 preferred by his predecessor, and in doing so has played Kanté in the same role.

Whilst Sarri was maligned for his use of Kanté as a number 8, fans have been more lenient with club legend Lampard, and have even warmed to Jorginho thanks to his good relationship with the manager. The Italian had been played as a number 6 flanked by Kovacic and Kanté in the last campaign under Sarri, and Lampard has regularly used the same midfield three this term when all three have been available for selection. However, as the season has worn on it has grown clear that Jorginho does not possess the necessary speed and tackling ability to screen a porous Chelsea backline. This has been demonstrated by him picking up a huge 10 bookings in just 26 appearances this term, the joint highest figure in the league. He often brings down opposition players due to his inability to catch up and get goal-side of them: last season his top speed of 18.88 miles per hour ranked him as the slowest midfielder to rack up more than 1,000 league minutes. Kanté is comparatively rapid, clocking top speeds of 21.47 miles per hour in 2017, and so is able to stifle fast opposition forwards. 

The Frenchman is an expert at making discrete tactical fouls to slow down opposition counter-attacks, only picking up 22 yellow cards for his 217 fouls in the Premier League to date, compared to his Italian teammate’s 18 yellows over 58 fouls (a rate of 9.9 tackles per booking compared to 3.1 respectively). This ability to break up fast break-aways without picking up suspensions is key, and it is a trait Pep Guardiola appreciates, with Fernandinho encouraged to make fouls on the half-way line to stop opponent’s attacks and allow his side to regroup. 

Kanté’s speed perfectly combines with his tackling technique, potentially making him one of the world’s best holding players, photo credit: squawka.com

While Jorginho’s figure of 4.4 tackles and interceptions on average per game is very good for a holding midfielder, he is still dribbled past a huge 1.7 times per game, a figure which rises to 2.7 in the Champions League this season, as he clearly struggles to cope with the pace of opposition attackers. No one in the Chelsea squad has been dribbled past more this season, and for context, Kanté has been dribbled past 0.9 times per game this term. This may in part be due to him playing in a slightly different position, but the 29 year old is clearly tougher to get past, using his speed and guile to keep up with opponents and nick the ball off them.

So if Kanté is so much more effective as a holding midfielder, why are we only just starting to see him being deployed there? The answer comes down to positional discipline. He has always been given a ‘search-and-destroy’ brief when playing in a midfield duo, allowing him the freedom to charge around dispossessing opponents regularly, whilst his partner( Drinkwater or Matic) sat deep and shielded the defence in his absence. However, we have seen a different side to Kanté since the restart, and the Manchester City game showed how far he has come. With City dominating possession, keeping 65% of it, Kanté held firm and regularly thwarted opposition moves in the final third. A perfect example of this was when he cleverly cut out an attempted pass to David Silva by Kevin de Bruyne, before sliding it into Willian on the right, with the counter-attack he set in motion culminating in a penalty from which Willian sealed the three points. 

When Jorginho followed Sarri to Chelsea, he was given the responsibility of being the team’s heart-beat from a holding midfield role. The Italian is renowned across Europe for his distribution, and Chelsea had to beat Manchester City to his signature. With a monstrous 84.3 passes per game last season – second only to Laporte for passes per game in the league – it was clear Jorginho’s role was to set the rhythm of Chelsea’s monotonous attacking phases. Yet he didn’t manage an assist. For all of his passing ability, a staggering 46% of his passes were classed as regressive last season (they were sent backwards) and so the illusion that he would be at the centre of Chelsea’s forward play was dented. Even so, Jorginho still contributed creatively and was unlucky not to register more assists, potentially due to the consistently underperforming Gonzalo Higuaín playing up front. Kanté is often regarded as a less accomplished passer than Jorginho, and that may be true, but his 1.3 chances created per game is much more impressive than his teammates 0.8 this season. 

Although there is a debate to be had over whether Jorginho is more creative than Kanté, moving the Frenchman to a holding midfield role frees up a place for more offensive-minded number 8s on either side of him. Whereas when Jorginho plays one of the other midfield three will likely be Kanté, if the World Cup winner plays deeper then Lampard can play two of Mason Mount, Mateo Kovačić, Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Ross Barkley with him. With Kanté’s extraordinary speed and endurance, as well as his incredible tackling ability (peaking at 3.7 tackles per game in the 2017/18 season, the third most in the league that season), Lampard may have more freedom to play two advanced 8s. This would squash any concerns about a lack of creativity in the side, as Mount, Barkley and Kovacic all create more chances per game than Jorginho. 

A huge concern for Lampard has been a startling lack of goals from midfield this season. If we remove penalty goals (Jorginho is arguably the best spot-kick taker in the league and has bagged 3 this season), we have managed a measly 11 goals from our midfielders this term, and 6 of them have come from the boots of Mason Mount! For comparison, Man City’s midfielders have bagged 24 goals, and so it is clear to see why Lampard is desperate for our midfielders to carry some more of the goal-scoring responsibility for Chelsea. 21-year-old Mount is only going to improve his scoring record under the tutelage of the finest midfield goal-scorer of all time, and Loftus-Cheek proved to be an excellent marksman last season as he racked up 6 goals in 24 league appearances. Throw in consistent game time for Ross Barkley and we suddenly have a more diverse outlay of goals and won’t depend as heavily on our front three.

Kanté is not the greatest progressive passer in the side, with Jorginho and Gilmour more adept at playing balls into the final third. He often takes the safe option and exchanges passes with the back 4, but against pressing opponents like Liverpool and Manchester City, such calm ball retention is key to gaining a foothold in the game. With creators all around him, Kanté could begin to mould himself into more of a Claude Makélélé type player, screening his back four diligently, before starting attacks with an intelligent, yet safe, forwards pass. Makélélé had the extremely attack-minded Lampard beside him in a pivot, and still helped Chelsea to concede a meagre 15 league goals in the 2004/05 campaign. If Kanté could follow suit, our defence would suddenly look a lot more sound, even before improvements at centre back and left back are brought in. 

Makélélé was so effective he has a position named after him, and Kanté could emulate his fellow Frenchman in a holding role, photo credit: premierleague.com

There is also the possibility that Lampard could alternate between Kanté and one of Jorginho and Gilmour in the holding midfield role, dependent on the opponent and their style. For example, against a low block who do not press, such as Aston Villa, it might be useful to have a more adept progressive passer at number 6, as there is an emphasis on breaking down the opposition. However, when playing teams in the top half who tend to press aggressively, N’Golo Kanté looks set to start in the future, and after what we have seen of him in a number 6 role so far, this seems a smart move by Lampard.

Kanté is still only 29 years of age, and his illustrious countryman Makélélé managed to play at a high level for Chelsea up to the age of 35. This means Lampard has an extremely strong base off which he can build a team for the next half-decade. With his incredible physical attributes, his clever tactical fouls and wonderful ability to win the ball, Kanté could be the perfect holding midfielder in Lampard’s 4-3-3. After some work on his distribution and positional discipline he could be orchestrating a Chelsea side to major silverware in the very-near future. Having silenced questions about his ability following a difficult start to the season, Kanté has reinvented himself in a new role, and it could prove to be fundamental to Chelsea’s success over the coming years!

Written by Daniel New