Chelsea’s decision to sack Frank Lampard and replace him with Thomas Tuchel has shifted the club off the path they appeared more than willing to go down 18 months ago.
When Lampard was brought in, there was an appreciation that he would need time to oversee a rebuild at Stamford Bridge. To build a squad capable of challenging for trophies in the years to come.
Several academy graduates would be given their chance in the team, an opportunity to live up to their undoubted potential. And, for the most part, that’s exactly what they did and helped Chelsea finish in the Champions League places last term.
Things weren’t always smooth for Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. Nor Billy Gilmour and Callum Hudson-Odoi. But every one has proved they deserve to be a Chelsea player, and that will only benefit the club in the years to come.
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What proved the beginning of the end for Lampard was last summer’s transfer window. Chelsea brought in six players at a cost of more than £200 million and with that expectations changed.
The Blues higher-ups wanted an immediate return on their investment; they wanted to be challenging at the top of the table once more. Lampard didn’t feel that was reasonable and publicly said as much, even when the Blues briefly were top of the table in December.
Lampard was effectively standing on quicksand at Stamford Bridge this season: the harder he fought to convince the club time was needed, the faster things at Chelsea unravelled. His sacking yesterday came as no surprise.
Tuchel will be the next man through the door at Stamford Bridge. He will arrive with his own ideas, beliefs and expectations. Many players will have to win him over and they will have time to do that.
The winter transfer window closes on February 1, less than a week’s time. That will not give the German long enough to fully assess…