Chelsea had been under a transfer embargo last summer transfer window, but the board deserve plaudits for sealing the club’s prospects during the season.
Christian Pulisic’s arrival from his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund and the permanent move of Mateo Kovacic may have eased the impact of the transfer ban, but it was still a big problem for Chelsea, whose rivals invested millions.
The then newly arrival manager Frank Lampard has had to rely upon the crops of Chelsea youth and loan system in bids to finish within Champions League spots by the end of the season.
Having been at the receiving end of blames for the past few seasons’ flops such as Tiemoue Bakayoko, Alvaro Morata, and Danny Drinkwater, the Chelsea board seem to make use of the free time given by transfer ban by wisely.
Since the start of the season, Chelsea have sealed long-term deals for six of the club’s young prospects. They are Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and recently, Ian Maatsen.
This season’s youth movement under Lampard and assistant manager Jody Morris has played a part in convincing the youngsters, but the board deserve their credits for making the moves relatively quickly.
Inactive January transfer window case
Many would argue the board were to blame for lack of signing in January and it rendered the effort made for the successful appeal useless. Although everyone would agree, an addition or two to the squad would have been a tremendous help to achieve the top-four finish.
But not many clubs would let their players leave in the middle of the season, at least not for cheap.
Chelsea have confirmed the transfer of Ajax Amsterdam’s Hakim Ziyech who will join the squad this summer, for a reported price of £33.3 million (Independent). The price of bringing Ziyech in January would have been at least doubled that, if Ajax agreed to lose their key player and risk their season, that is.
Knowing Chelsea were desperate for players after the ban, clubs would have easily asked for fees over the market rates for Chelsea targets. It would have put Chelsea at a disadvantage and the board made an arguably good decision to hold back.
It also gives Lampard a reported £150m to invest in players this summer (Metro) where the board will be once again judged on how they help the manager land his main targets through negotiations.
But until then, the board deserve their accolades for how they’ve reacted to transfer ban this season.