The transfer ban Chelsea served in the summer of 2019 will go down as a pivotal moment in the club’s recent history.
Would Frank Lampard have been appointed if the Blues had the ability to sign players? Arguably not.
Would Reece James, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and several other academy graduates have been brought into the first-team fold? It’s unlikely.
And would Chelsea have spent big to sign a replacement for Eden Hazard? Almost certainly. That they couldn’t has proven a blessing in disguise.
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Countless players were linked with the Blues ahead and during the 2019 summer transfer window despite the fact they couldn’t officially register any new recruits until January 2020.
One of the most prominent was Luka Jovic. The Serbian striker had enjoyed a stellar campaign with Eintracht Frankfurt, scoring 27 goals, two of which came against Chelsea in the Europa League.
He was Europe’s most in-demand forward. A big transfer was inevitable. And with the Blues stuck on the transfer market sidelines, Real Madrid were able to agree a £52.4 million deal for Jovic.
The 21-year-old’s signing was part of a big recruitment drive by Real that summer. Hazard was the headline act – and expected to replace Cristiano Ronaldo – while Eder Miltao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo also joined ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
Jovic started the campaign behind Karim Benzema, no shame there. But he was unable to dislodge the French striker and, in his limited opportunities on the pitch, goals were hard to come by.
He struck twice in La Liga before La Liga was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He then flouted self-isolation protocols having been allowed to return to his native country during Spain’s lockdown. Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vucic, threatened him with arrest if he did…