Chelsea should consider recalling Ethan Ampadu from his loan spell at Sheffield United if they cannot sign a new defensive midfielder in the January transfer window.
Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s loan exits at the latter stage of the summer transfer window have left Frank Lampard with very limited options for central midfield roles.
And the system switch to a 4-2-3-1 has reduced those options to just three: N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic (and Billy Gilmour still recovering from a long-term knee injury) — since while Mason Mount and Kai Havertz would suit a midfield three, it arguably would not be the case for a double pivot.
Reece James has played the “emergency midfielder” role on multiple occasions this season, along with his primary role as a right back.
Although James has had plenty of experience in midfield during his loan stint at Wigan Athletic, it’s pretty obvious Lampard sees him as an attacking fullback in the long term.
The Chelsea manager might have a plan to bring in another midfielder in the January transfer window which is just over a couple of months away — but Ampadu’s performance in midfield against Liverpool should at least put the option to recall him into the discussion.
Ethan Ampadu last night. 🔛🔥
10 recoveries. 🤝
46 passes. 💫
89% Pass accuracy 🎯
8/10 Ground duels won. 🚫
3/3 Aerial duels won. 👊 pic.twitter.com/nvUzGPIljL
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) October 25, 2020
The Blades still suffered a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in that game, but the Wales international was certainly one of their best performers.
And if Lampard decides to bring Ampadu back, Chelsea could have two additional midfield options for the second half of the season once Gilmour recovers from his injury, without having to spend in the market.
Not to mention that the 20-year-old is a versatile defensive player who is also capable of playing as a centre-back — although Lampard already has a plethora of options in that area.