Chelsea hopes of bolstering leaky defence hinge on summer sales
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard faces an anxious wait to find out whether he will be able to rebuild his defence this summer.
While Chelsea are pushing ahead with their bid to sign Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen, it is believed Lampard will have to create space in his squad to sign defensive recruitments.
It is believed Chelsea did not activate their buy-back option on Manchester City-bound Nathan Ake because they have four first-team centre-backs at the club.
Lampard admires Ake and is also interested in West Ham United’s Declan Rice and Atletico Madrid’s
Jose Gimenez, while Ben Chilwell remains his top left-back target.
But Chelsea want to offload players in defensive areas before making new signings, which means the club would need to find a buyer for Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger or Andreas Christensen.
Another way to create space and bring in funds to sign Rice, who West Ham value at £65million, or Gimenez, would be to sell midfielder Jorginho. Marcos Alonso or Emerson Palmieri will have to leave to allow Lampard to sign a leftback, with Chilwell his preferred option ahead of Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico and Everton’s Lucas Digne.
Lampard will hold talks with Chelsea over the future of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was left on the bench for the final Premier League game of the season and the FA Cup final.
It is expected that Chelsea will sign a goalkeeper, regardless of whether Kepa leaves, either permanently or on loan.
Chelsea have identified ambitious top-level targets such as Jan Oblak and Marc-Andre ter Stegen should Kepa leave, while also looking at cheaper alternatives to battle for the No1 spot if he has to stay.
On his need to strengthen defensive areas, Lampard, whose team conceded 54 Premier League goals, said: “The numbers don’t lie. We are trying to play a certain way. I know that teams now who are at the top of the game, Liverpool and Manchester City, have been through similar periods.
“It is a work in progress for me. I can’t shelve it in another direction, we have to work defensively as a group. But some of the individual errors we are making can’t be there if you want to keep moving forward.
“So we have to work as a group to make that better. There are areas to improve defensively.”
Blue target: Declan Rice is valued by West Ham at £65 million but is a player Chelsea manager Frank Lampard admires