Frank Lampard was a key member – alongside John Terry, Didier Drogba, and Petr Cech – in holding Chelsea together when the club was going through a highly unstable period in the last decade. Even when managers came and went, the blues kept on adding more trophies to the collection. The nerves of steel provided by our record goal scorer can be matched by few.
Immediately after the Champions League win in 2012, there was a lot of excitement around Chelsea once again. Roman Abramovich, whose interested seemed to wane around this period, found his mojo and the club signed a number of exciting young players like Eden Hazard, Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, and many more. Many of these names were immensely popular in Premier League fantasy football games.
The club’s progression from having a number of experienced and older players to a squad full of youngsters with pace and new ideas looked promising indeed. The promise kept growing when the club appointed Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2013. Everyone was aware that Chelsea were in a transition, but it did not appear to be heading in the wrong direction.
Three years later, Chelsea have just missed on Champions League qualification for the first time under Abramovich. The club is also on course to finishing 10th in the table. The last time the club finished outside the top six was TWO decades ago in the 1995-96 season. Legend Gianfranco Zola, then 30, joined the club a year later.
Lampard is now one of the first to admit that the club has regressed a lot. He said:
“There’s been a transition at Chelsea that looked like it was going in a good direction, but it’s gone in a completely negative one.
“They shouldn’t be where they are now. You can see Conte is going to take the bull by the horns and try to imprint his style and technique on the club.
“He might need to bring in players who will respond to that. There will be a change of personnel at Chelsea.”
Many still regard Mourinho as the saviour and hero of Chelsea football club. Yet, the simple fact that he has destroyed an immensely promising squad is a bitter pill to swallow. It should give a lot of pain to see players sold – Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Juan Mata, and many more – under Mourinho performing exceptionally well. The pain is amplified by their replacements being names like Juan Cuadrado!!
Everyone makes mistakes in the transfer market, but maybe not on such a grand scale. Most Chelsea fans will probably google about Papy Djilobodji – a player in the first-team squad. This, more than anything else, signifies what has gone wrong with the club in the last three years.
Antonio Conte truly has a big job on his hands.