When the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed that Chelsea’s transfer ban had been halved on December 6, there were a lot of instant conclusions drawn.
Frank Lampard would be given up to £150million to spend in this window and, therefore, many presumed it would be an eventful month full of comings and goings.
Alas January has drawn to a close with a grand total of zero new arrivals and one talented academy player departing to another Premier League side.
The online reaction from supporters – notably few of them matchday regulars – has been predictably furious but when the dust settles and there is time to reflect many may come to the realisation that for two different reasons there were still some positives to extract.
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The first significant reason is a renewed commitment in the club’s young players. Chelsea could easily have thrown a load of money at various experienced (old?) campaigners but instead the academy products who have reached the Champions League knockout rounds and sit fourth in the Premier League will be given an opportunity to finish the job.
With that comes pressure and responsibility but if they can thrive reflections on the month just passed will take on a widely different hue.
On top of that Tariq Lamptey’s sale to Brighton & Hove Albion is understandable in the context of Reece James’s emergence and it was never going to be easy to keep all those talented young players happy, as explained here following the teenager’s debut in the win away to Arsenal at the end of December.
Secondly, past mistakes tell us that it is far better to not spend than spend badly. Remember Danny Drinkwater or Davide Zappacosta? There were question marks over a number of targets and the prudent approach makes sense when you look at how Manchester United’s desperation ended up with them looking to bring in Odion Ighalo from China.