Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech will officially become Chelsea players tomorrow and Frank Lampard has revealed that plans are well underway for integrating the duo into the squad.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of our London derby at West Ham on Wednesday evening, Lampard claimed that the focus for the two new arrivals would be on preparations for next season given they are unable to feature until the 2019/20 campaign has concluded.
The aim is for them to be fit and fresh for when they are able to start contributing on the field and the boss expanded on his plans for making that happen.
‘I’m in the process of arranging those plans now,’ he told reporters assembled on the Zoom video call, the new normal for previewing behind-closed-doors encounters.
‘They’re both in different positions in the fact that Hakim hasn’t played for a long time because of the Dutch league situation [being abandoned and declared void in April] and obviously Timo finished at the weekend.
‘We will formulate a plan for them which will look slightly different individually. I’ll decide in the meantime how it looks at the training ground, whether that means mixing with the squad or whether it means some physical work in the shorter-term.’
However, Lampard’s primary focus right now is on securing a top-four finish and Champions League football for Werner and Ziyech to be involved in next season. The Blues have the opportunity to jump into third this midweek, currently trailing Leicester City by just a point.
For the new signings, it will be a watching brief as their work centres on starting next season in the best physical condition possible.
‘The first issue right now is how we finish the season, that’s my main focus,’ continued Lampard. ‘In terms of these two players, we have to make sure they arrive with good fitness and freshness levels for next season.
‘They will have a longer break than the players we’ve already got in the squad so I’ll take that firmly into account and when I feel it’s the right time to bring them in and around the squad this season, I can do that. If not, the absolute priority is making sure they’re ready for next season.’
Ahead of his switch from the Bundesliga, Werner has been speaking about what convinced him to choose Stamford Bridge, citing Lampard's influence as particularly important.
'The discussions with the board at Chelsea were so good that I ultimately chose them,' said the German.
'Frank Lampard in particular stood behind me and really wanted me to know that if I went to Chelsea, I could feel just as comfortable as I do with Leipzig. In the conversations with me, the coach often emphasised how much he wanted me and how much he valued me as a person.'