Frank Lampard claims that Chelsea’s lack of activity in the January transfer window means his side are now underdogs in the race for the top four.
Despite getting their transfer ban overturned, Chelsea failed to make any signings.
Five things to know about Chelsea’s January transfer window…
- A successful appeal against their transfer ban meant the Blues were allowed to sign players last month.
- Lampard made it clear that he was looking for reinforcements…
- …specifically up front, having sold their top-scorer of last season, Eden Hazard, in the previous summer.
- A supposed late bid for Dries Mertens never materialised, meaning Olivier Giroud was forced to stay as well.
- Lampard has not tried to hide his disappointment at the lack of signings.
Chelsea may be in the top four as things stand, but the gap between them and the rest is shrinking. More dropped points away at Leicester on Saturday means that Sheffield United are just five points behind the Blues now.
Furthermore, the sides around them made movements in the window. Leicester signed some back-up for the centre-halves, Manchester Utd finally secured the signature of Bruno Fernandes and Spurs recruited Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes. Chelsea, on the other hand, signed nobody.
And Lampard believes that this will hinder them in the race for the top four. He told reporters before their clash with Leicester on Saturday: “Every time I look at the television another player signs for a club, that’s the transfer window.
“But if I’m looking at it with my business head on and looking around us in the table and I look at Manchester United obviously signing a big, big player, a world-class player, in my opinion.
“Tottenham have signed a few and they’re not far behind us. And not only have they signed a few, but a couple of players have left were obviously – not being too crude about it – the situation was they were towards the end of their contracts and maybe weren’t happy being at the club any more.
“Sometimes that’s as important as bringing players in. It’s changing the feeling of the group if players are not wanting to be there so that’s obviously smart business on that part.
“Now what remains to be seen will be seen and from my view – and this is not to talk down ourselves because we’re six points clear in fourth – now we become probably the underdogs and the outsiders to some point because the teams around us have strengthened. It’s a fact.”
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Lampard praises Wilder
Few would have thought that Lampard would be discussing Sheffield Utd as one of their main rivals for a place in the top four come February, but that is exactly what happened on deadline day.
A 0-1 win away at Crystal Palace on Saturday is another impressive result which they can add to their collection: they’ve taken points off Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester Utd in their first season back in the top flight for 13 years and find themselves in the hunt for European football.
Chelsea’s boss was eager to praise just how fantastic a job they’ve done on their return.
He added: “Sheffield United are making fantastic signings, Chris Wilder’s job is incredible because he’s had years to work that group and now they’re adding where he sees fit.”