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A look at Chelsea’s Run in

Chelsea are carrying their preparations on after the much-anticipated return of the players on the training ground in Cobham in mid-May, starting initially with non-contact sessions and then gradually moving at the beginning of June to the second phase characterized by the permission of physical contact, totally respecting the warnings and strict rules of ‘’Project Restart’’.

One of the most important highlights of the period we are talking about is the absence of N’Golo Kante after he was allowed to miss the successive sessions following the first day of training, as past incidents related to health and well-being had affected his family before. The Frenchman is now back and he is training with the group, while it was confirmed in club’s website that he took part in the latest friendly against the Championship side QPR, played at Stamford Bridge last Sunday and won by ‘’The Blues’’ with the convincing 7-1 result, but also in the previous preparatory game versus Reading at Cobham training centre. There isn’t anything more to say specifically about the first days of physical, technical and tactical work since the return, but it’s important to point out that, as it was confirmed by The Telegraph, Frank Lampard is holding two daily training sessions: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

With the eyes on the game against Aston Villa at Villa Park this Sunday, Frank Lampard will have the biggest part of the organic in his disposal to choose from, with the only absence being Jorginho who will miss the trip through suspension (10 yellow cards) and in particular it’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s availability the fact that makes the fans look forward even more to ‘’the comeback’’ of the team on the pitch for a competitive game after waiting for more than 100 days, since the 4-0 win against Everton in March. As usually, Frank Lampard is going to answer the questions of the press on Friday afternoon, but unlike the conferences held in normal circumstances, in this case the communication will be done through ‘’Zoom’’ platform, as it has already happened with some other managers in the league, whose teams play twice this week (the match of Round 28 and in the weekend the one of Round 29). In terms of the officials chosen to take charge of  this meeting, Paul Tierney will be the referee, while his assistants and the fourth official of the game will be Scott Ledger, Mark Scholes (assistant referees) and Graham Scott (the fourth official) . Lee Mason is going to fill the spot of the VAR referee and Ian Hussin the one of Assistant VAR referee.

The team is scheduled to play 4 games inside 11 days, as they host Manchester City at the Bridge on 25thJune, before facing Leicester City away from home in the FA Cup quarter-final three days later and in the first day of the upcoming month, ‘’The Blues’’ visit West Ham at London Stadium.

Regarding the transfer activity, Chelsea seem to be rather active this window, as they have already secured the services of the Moroccan international winger, Hakim Ziyech from Ajax in February with the quoted fee being 37.8 millions of pounds and have already announced the signing of striker Timo Werner from RB Leipzig for 47 millions of pounds this week, following his ‘’yes’’ given to the club after getting convinced by his direct communication with Frank Lampard, who informed the German striker in detail about his 3-year plan of building, strengthening and lifting the team in top levels. In addition, the club’s hierarchy and managerial staff are focusing on signing a left-back as well, with Ben Chilwell rumored by some reliable sources and outlets to be on top of the list, although Leicester City aren’t said to be willing to sell him for less than 60 millions of pounds, which may switch the focus to another alternative, such as Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico (As per Matt Law of The Telegraph, Chelsea have the option to sign him for 22.4 millions of pounds.), unless an agreement is reached with Leicester for a discount in the prize they ask for the English international left-back. Anyhow, while it’s being said that there will be moves for a centre-back or a goalkeeper if the alternatives are convincing enough, on the other side, the club doesn’t seem to be done yet in their pursuit of attacking options. Thus, Kai Havertz, the 21-year-old attacking midfielder, who shows his versatility by playing in several positions, is certainly a player who has strongly caught the eye of Chelsea among other clubs, with Bayer Leverkusen looking open to selling the talented youngster in case a lucrative offer (+75 millions of euros) is proposed to them. As reported by the most respectable sources, at the moment, everything remains in the shape of ‘’a concrete and serious interest’’, but we will need to see what happens in the following weeks in order to create a clearer idea in this regard.

Another matter I would like to cover is the one of the possible departures that can be materialized as a consequence of new signings coming in and also because of players’ contracts expiring on 30th June. Concretely, unlike Willy Caballero and Olivier Giroudwho have already signed a new one-year contract, Willian, Pedro and Kenedy, with the latter being currently on loan at Getafe in La Liga, haven’t renewed it yet and it looking more and more likely that such a thing won’t happen (the deadline to decide is on 23rdJune), as the Spanish winger has reportedly agreed a two year deal with Roma, whereas the 31-year-old Brazilian wants a 3-year deal and a higher salary , in contrast to the 2-year deal and no modification of wage offered by the club. In addition, there have been a lot of talks in particular about the situation of current left-backs in the team, whose status quo is far from safe and if we add to this the fact that it’s likely for the squad to be strengthened with another player of the same position, both Marcos Alonso and Emerson will have to show very high levels of performances during the training sessions and these games of the current season, in order to cement a spot in the team for next season. Basing on the media info, Emerson’s name has been mentioned more for a probable return in Italy (Inter and Juventus are presumably interested in him.), but the Milan team has been sporadically linked with the Spanish fullback as well, even though for neither of them the rumors have been strong enough, so at the moment everything is taken with a pinch of salt in this aspect.

The last topic I wanted to discuss has to do with thedifficulty of the club to offload some unwanted and obviously average players that are still contracted. Personally, the reason that the likes of MichyBatshuayi, Danny Drinkwater, Marco Van Ginkel, Davide Zappacosta etc. is mainly represented by their ‘’crazy’’ wages (referring to their level in constant decline), an evident factor that made even the teams from the bottom half of the table in Premier League somehow reluctant to consider a bid for them in the January transfer window and the stance has been the same this summer so far as well. Anyhow, it’s highly expected that a considerable number of players that are clearly not good enough in the context of club’s maximal standards(including the ones mentioned above) will leave this window on permanent basis inside England or abroad.

Finally, it’s important to point out that 120% of the focus is now on the remaining games of the current season on the pitch and certainly, in keeping the momentum going in terms of the transfer incomings, as the intention is to sign quality, high-level/world-class players who really deserve to play for this team, being able to represent the badge and the shirt gloriously both domestically and in European level, contributing in this manner in building a prosperous present and future for ‘’The Blues’’. COME ON CHELSEA!!  

Helgi Llozana


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