After winning their first match following the Premier League’s restart, Chelsea remain very much in the hunt for a Champions League spot next season. However, while Frank Lampard’s Blues performed well in their victory over Aston Villa, it’s clear that Chelsea’s current squad isn’t the finished article.
That’s why they’ve already splashed some cash this summer, signing Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.
With new players incoming, it’s pretty clear that in response, some players will need to depart Stamford Bridge.
With that in mind, here are five players that Lampard should look to offload this summer.
#1 Ross Barkley
With the arrival of Ziyech, one area that Chelsea won’t be struggling in next season is in the attacking midfield berths. The Moroccan international can play as either a wide forward or in a more central role, and he’s not short of talent. This season has seen him score six goals and deliver 12 assists in Eredivisie action.
That means he’ll be in direct competition with a number of players at Chelsea for a starting spot. The Blues have a number of options in the areas he likes to play in, including Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic, Ross Barkley, and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
That means that it’s likely that at least one of those names will be forced to depart Stamford Bridge. And right now, the most likely one seems to be Barkley.
The England international certainly has talent, but his return of three assists in 14 league appearances hasn’t been that impressive. In a direct comparison, Mount – who is also five years younger – has six goals and four assists, although he’s played 16 more games.
The problem for Barkley is largely inconsistency. He’s capable of excellence, but too often he simply goes missing for massive periods during games. And with Chelsea looking to compete with Europe’s giants again, they can’t afford to carry any passengers.
Could the former Everton man attempt to reinvent himself as a deeper-lying midfielder? Perhaps, but then he’d simply be competing with the likes of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic instead.
Essentially, it feels like Barkley could be the odd man out at Stamford Bridge next season. To see Lampard offload him would make a lot of sense.
#2 Michy Batshuayi
A €40m signing from Marseille in the summer of 2016, Michy Batshuayi has had a tough time at Chelsea since day one. Never truly trusted by Antonio Conte or Maurizio Sarri, he has always struggled for game time.
When Frank Lampard took over at Stamford Bridge though, the Belgian may have figured his chance was about to come. After all, he’d done well at Crystal Palace on loan last season, scoring five goals in 11 games.
However, Lampard has preferred to use academy product Tammy Abraham as his main striker, with French veteran Olivier Giroudon backup duties. And the two men have repaid his faith, with Abraham scoring 15 goals and Giroud scoring three.
Batshuayi meanwhile has only started one Premier League game, and in his appearances as a substitute, has largely failed to impress. His miss in October’s Champions League clash with Ajax, for instance, was criminally bad.
With Timo Werner now about to join the club, there will be even more competition for the striking berths. And that means that Batshuayi’s days at Stamford Bridge are likely numbered.
The Belgian is clearly a Premier League-level talent, but he desperately needs to find some confidence – and goals. Lampard should, therefore, look to offload him to a team lower in the table, or abroad instead.
When Italian boss Maurizio Sarri swapped Chelsea for Juventus last summer, it seemed like midfielder Jorginho would be swift to join him.
The Italy international had been brought to Stamford Bridge by Sarri in the summer of 2018. But despite costing around £50m, he found his debut season in the Premier League difficult.
A metronomic passer, Jorginho didn’t play badly per se. But his role as the Blues’ deepest-lying midfielder often came into question. He failed to register a single assist and was unable to perform the same holding role that N’Golo Kante had done to great success under Chelsea’s previous boss.
Under Lampard in the current campaign, the Italian has performed better. He’s scored four goals and registered two assists, translating his passing style into a slightly more offensive role. Despite this though, there are still some issues.
It’s clear that he’s probably the best passer of the ball that Chelsea’s midfield can call upon. But he isn’t as good as Kante when it comes to tackling and stealing the ball. He doesn’t carry the ball forward as well as Mateo Kovacic. And his creative talents aren’t as good as those of Mason Mount or newcomer Hakim Ziyech.
With other midfielders in the mix such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the outstanding youngster Billy Gilmour, there’s definitely an argument that Jorginho is surplus to requirements. And so given he’s already 28 years old, Lampard may be best to try to cash in on him this summer – while he can still recoup a big fee.
#4 Marcos Alonso
One player who Chelsea have been continually linked with in recent weeks is Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell. The England international has risen in prominence over the last few years and is now recognised as one of the best in his position in the Premier League.
That’s why it may be time for Lampard to look to move Marcos Alonso on. The Spaniard has been at Stamford Bridge for some time – since 2016 – and he’s undoubtedly been a solid player during that period.
However, there are a number of issues surrounding the former Fiorentina man. While he’s a fantastic left-sided wing-back, there are often question marks around his defensive capabilities. And while that wasn’t a problem when Chelsea played with wing-backs, Lampard doesn’t tend to use that system.
During the current campaign, Emerson was at first preferred over Alonso as Chelsea’s first-choice left-back. And while Alonso has more recently regained his spot – scoring four goals and registering two assists – his defensive work still needs improvement. And at 29 years old, it’s unlikely to happen.
Interestingly, the Spaniard is under contract until 2023, meaning that he could still fetch a solid fee if Lampard were to sell him now. And if he can get Chilwell – or another highly rated left-back – to Chelsea to replace him, Alonso probably ought to be shipped out.
#5 Kurt Zouma
Chelsea’s defence has often come into question under Lampard this season. Part of the issue may have to do with the fact that for the most part, the team’s centre-backs have not been settled.
Lampard has struggled to decide which two of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, and Fikayo Tomori should start. And so with Cesar Azpilicueta – whose spot at right-back is threatened by Reece James – also able to play in the centre of defence, the smart thing would surely be to offload one of them in the summer.
But who should be the fall guy? Rudiger is the most experienced, but of the other three, it seems the weaker link is probably Zouma.
When comparing the three statistically, the Frenchman clearly comes out worst. Both Tomori and Christensen score higher than him when it comes to passing ability and tackles per game despite Zouma having played slightly more often.
And it’s also worth noting that at 25, the Frenchman is older than both of his competitors and therefore has less room for improvement.
With all of this in mind, Lampard should probably look to sell Zouma this summer. He’s still young enough to fetch a hefty fee and there won’t be a shortlist of suitors for him. And if the Chelsea boss could bring in big money, it could be used to strengthen in other areas too – perhaps at left-back.