Frank Lampard has officially been appointed as the new manager of Chelsea.
Onlookers would be well within their rights to consider the probable appointment to be a risk given Lampard’s lack of managerial experience. That said, during his first season in management with Derby County, the 40-year-old demonstrated his willingness to entrust young players – a significant factor given the Blues’ current predicament.
Chelsea are banned from signing players for the next two transfer windows, and the need for serious youth integration has never been more pressing.
In Lampard, the Blues will have a manager who recognises the importance of trusting youth players – as his reliance on the likes of Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori at Derby suggested – which could provide many of Chelsea’s young talents with their eagerly awaited breakthrough at Stamford Bridge.
Resultantly, here are five youngsters that must be incorporated into Chelsea’s squad under Lampard next season.
Mount proved to be an integral figure in the Derby side that reached the Championship playoff final. His goal tally reached double figures in all competitions for the second successive season, contributing towards 17 goals – 11 goals and six assists – for the Rams.
Chelsea’s midfield requires an injection of creativity, particularly given that Ruben Loftus-Cheek is sidelined with a ruptured Achilles Tendon. Loftus-Cheek was the Blues’ highest scoring central midfielder in the league last season with six goals, and following the departure of Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s need for a variety of goal scorers is pressing.
Mount is an exceptional footballer who exhibits excellent technical quality and clinical proficiency in dead-ball situations. He has scored four direct free-kicks in his career.
His tremendous passing quality and habit of scoring from long-range would make him a valued member of Chelsea’s squad, and after two years away from the club acquiring regular first-team football, he deserves an opportunity to make a major step up in class.
Not many teams are fortunate enough to have a 21-year-old with two international caps, top-flight experience and 60 senior club goals to their name. Given Chelsea’s need for a clinical striker, it would be foolish of the Blues not to utilise Tammy Abraham.
The forward was indispensable in Villa’s return to the Premier League, scoring 26 goals for Dean Smith’s side.
The forward is supremely clinical in the penalty area, and he has also proven to be a dependent penalty taker – having scored 13 out of 16 penalties at all levels. His composure from the spot could be vital for Chelsea following the exit of Eden Hazard.
The Welshman enjoyed a frustrating season under Maurizio Sarri’s tutelage, one marred by limited involvement and injury concerns.
Despite his restricted opportunities at club level, Ampadu has shone on the international stage with Wales, becoming one of their most important players.
Rarely do you see an 18-year-old command proceedings as coolly and authoritatively as Ampadu. The Welshman displays splendid vision, and he has the technical quality to accompany his foresight.
He’s equally competent playing in defence or as a holding midfielder and displays an extensive passing range.
Ampadu plays without fear, and his physicality and tenacious nature ensure that he’s an imposing player.
The Guardian reported last month that Aston Villa are eager to sign him, and it’s unsurprising that other Premier League teams are courting his services.
His versatility and evident quality would be of enormous worth to Chelsea.
The 19-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal season with Wigan Athletic, where he won their player of the year, was named in the Championship team of the season and captained the side on the last day of the campaign.
James is supremely talented, and he can play in multiple positions, namely, right-back, centre-back and central midfield.
The Englishman flaunts a vast array of attacking qualities, notably his dribbling and crossing ability. He is also a potential threat from set-pieces. He managed to claim an assist from a free-kick during his time with the Latics and his presence would significantly augment Chelsea’s threat from wide positions.
Ousting a man of Cesar Azpilicueta’s pedigree will be a difficult task, but he has shown enough promise to earn a genuine opportunity in the senior setup.
Tomori’s impressive season with Derby County and close relationship with Frank Lampard could carve a pathway into Chelsea’s first-team next season.
Having played a staggering 55 appearances for the Rams under the soon-to-be Chelsea manager, one would expect Tomori to have a decent chance of featuring for the Blues in the forthcoming campaign.
The 21-year-old is another Chelsea youngster that provides tactical adaptability: he can play at centre-back or as a right-back.
Tomori’s impressive performances for Derby were rewarded with the player of the season award, and that alone is enough to suggest he can be a very capable player for Lampard to call upon next season.