Not many of us knew what to expect when Frank Lampard was hired to take over the reins at Chelsea in the summer. The Blues legend came into the hot-seat at Stamford Bridge having only one season of management under his belt, and it’s fair to say he has exceeded all expectations.
As things stand, the Blues are fourth in the league, three points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United. This is far and above the expectations people had from Lampard coming into the season, with many declaring this season as a write-off for Chelsea, courtesy the departure of Eden Hazard and their transfer ban.
Now though, the club is expected to qualify for the Champions League despite the challenging circumstances they've found themselves in. Lampard’s youthful team have exceeded all initial targets but for them to fulfil their potential next season, there are a few players that must be offloaded in the summer.
Here are 4 players Frank Lampard should consider moving on in the summer.
Pedro Rodriguez has been a Chelsea fan-favourite since the day he chose Stamford Bridge over Old Trafford back in 2015. Coming from Barcelona, the Spaniard arrived with a great pedigree and a buzz that he could turn Chelsea back into a powerhouse.
In fairness, he’s won a Premier League title, an FA Cup and the Europa League at the Bridge in the five years that he’s been there. However, at 32 years of age, there is not much more the winger can offer to the team.
This season, the Spaniard has only scored one goal in nine Premier League appearances. Such an unsatisfactory output has forced the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount to carry the load in attack, rendering his involvement close to minimal.
Much of Lampard’s approach this season has been to breed the youth prospects who he feels are good enough to play. So, dragging along an underperforming 32-year-old on relatively large wages doesn’t make sense in this new era for Chelsea.
Moving Pedro on in the summer would be a major statement from the new boss as he continues to establish his authority on a club in transition.
#3 Marcos Alonso
Although he’s displaying relatively decent form now, Marcos Alonso is not a player that will take Chelsea to the next level. Frank Lampard is looking to build a dynasty at Stamford Bridge and the 29-year-old is not a long-term type of player that Lampard can depend on to build those foundations.
The left-back has found himself mainly on the bench this season as the emerging Emerson has made the starting eleven spot his own. Lampard has shown that he wants youth to dominate every aspect of his team, and unfortunately, Alonso is the odd one out.
Under Antonio Conte, Alonso was a force to be reckoned with in the left wing-back role, as he could focus more on attacking than his defensive duties. However, under Lampard, he’s been forced to play mainly as a left-back, a role that he doesn’t have the discipline for.
In the modern era, full-backs need to have incredible amounts of fitness to get up and down the pitch all game and possess great positioning to time their runs forward without leaving their defence exposed. Alonso, unfortunately, possesses neither of these qualities.
#2 Michy Batshuayi
It’s become glaringly obvious that Frank Lampard doesn’t value Michy Batshuayi as a squad player. Many fans have cried out for the Belgian to get his opportunity in the first team, but when he has, he hasn’t delivered.
Known best for his movement in the box, Batshuayi has aligned that quality with his notably poor finishing. Add to this the fact that Lampard has openly called out the Chelsea board for not signing a striker, and it suggests that Batshuayi is far down his list of his manager's preferred choices.
Olivier Giroud is ahead of him in the pecking order, despite Lampard knowing that the veteran Frenchman doesn't have the quality he used to have to take Chelsea where they want to be right now. It’s not as if Lampard has completely frozen out the 26-year-old, he’s made 24 appearances this season but has only returned the favour with six goals.
Such a poor strike-rate cannot be accepted at a top-four team, especially one with ambitions of winning the title in the immediate future. Although he looked promising upon his arrival in London, things haven’t worked out for Batshuayi in England and it’s time for him to find a new club.
Willian’s extravagant flashes of brilliance have made him somewhat of a marquee player in West London, albeit with relatively underwhelming returns in front of goal. However, at 31 years of age, life after Willian is something that Chelsea should consider planning for.
It doesn’t help matters that the winger has shown a reluctance to sign a new contract. His current deal expires in the summer and it looks as though both club and player have accepted that he’ll be moving on once his contract expires at the end of the season.
Lampard should not be held to ransom by a player that has shown himself to be inconsistent across several seasons. This season, Willian has scored seven goals and provided six assists in 37 appearances.
That may be decent but it’s hardly game-changing form. A club of Chelsea’s stature needs someone who will not only replicate Eden Hazard’s strike-rate but also his influence proceedings in high-pressure situations.
Willian has been a great asset for Chelsea but in 2020, there’s not much more the veteran can offer to an up-and-coming Lampard team.