Lampard targets recruitment drive as Chelsea crash out of Europe
Frank Lampard will turn his attention to his Chelsea recruitment drive now that the Blues’ marathon season is at an end.
The Chelsea boss admitted he will hone in on where to strengthen the Blues following his side’s 4-1 Champions League humbling at Bayern Munich.
Robert Lewandowski took his season’s tally to 53 goals with a smart brace, with the Poland striker also laying on goals for Ivan Perisic and Corentin Tolisso in Munich.
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Bayern won the last-16 two-leg tie 7-1 on aggregate – Lewandowski involved in every goal, scoring three with four assists – and will meet Barcelona in the quarter-finals, while Lampard will continue overhauling the Chelsea squad ahead of next term.
Lampard sealed Champions League qualification through a fourth-place Premier League finish in his first campaign at the Stamford Bridge helm, and insists his Blues rebuild remains a “work in progress”.
Asked if there will be more new arrivals at Stamford Bridge, Lampard told BT Sport: “We’ll look at that, because that’s our job, we’re very joined up on that already.
“From having a transfer ban (last summer) you feel we’ve missed where other clubs have spent and improved, and recruitment is a huge part of this game.
“Nights like this in a footballing sense, show me a lot, tell me a lot.
“So it’s a conversation now, the season is ended, it’s a very quick turnaround, so now is the time to see where we can improve, what areas we can improve on.”
Chelsea have already pulled off two transfer coups by recruiting Germany striker Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and Morocco winger Hakim Ziyech from Ajax.
The Blues are pushing hard for Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell and for West Ham’s England star Declan Rice, while a new goalkeeper could also be on the shopping list.
Chelsea have been close to a deal for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz for several weeks now, but Lampard insisted he cannot have any transfer expectations yet.
Asked for the latest on Havertz, Lampard said: “I wouldn’t expect anything, I wouldn’t expect, but it’s our job to go away and see what happens, and see if we can improve.
“In a football sense I feel like I know where we can improve, so now it’s time to look at that.
“I think it is a work in progress, it’s not the norm for Chelsea of the last 15 years.
“We have teams containing prime (Eden) Hazard and (Diego) Costa, teams containing prime (Petr) Cech, (John) Terry, (Didier) Drogba.
“Those teams competed for Premier League titles year on year, and reached Champions League semi-finals and finals.
“We know that’s not the case now. We lost the best player in the league, pretty much, in Eden Hazard.
“We have a lot of players who are young and have been on loan and come back, and I think they have developed greatly through the year.
“People would not normally commend Chelsea coming fourth, it’s not normally been the levels.
“But a lot of people, and the people here working and the fans, the feeling is – and we’re not happy with fourth, we want more – but the feeling is that we’ve achieved something with the group we have.
“But now it’s important not to rest or to settle, but to think where can we improve, where can we improve the players, and as a club where can we improve?”
Bayern boss Hansi Flick insisted the Bavarians will not focus solely on containing Lionel Messi in the quarter-final clash with Barcelona despite his brilliant goal in their second-leg win over Napoli.
“We will prepare for Barcelona like any other opponent,” said Flick.
“We want to show our strengths again, be 100 per cent focused and bring our qualities into the game. We’re not focusing on Messi, we need to be aware of every player.”
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