Given the number of new players that have arrived in a short space of time this summer and the sense of anticipation it has caused ahead of a new campaign, it was somewhat inevitable comparisons are made with some of the close seasons not long after Frank Lampard became a Chelsea player, the early years of Roman Abramovich’s ownership.
His level of involvement in the transfer market is of course different than it was back then, and although he has also recalled what it felt like to be a player back when the club began to spend big, on the eve of the 2020/21 season, he has also described the effort that went in to signing a primary target like Timo Werner during this window.
‘You understand when its competition with the likes of Liverpool and Man City that you need to state your best case to the player,’ Lampard explained.
‘So I think having been that player at one point, you have to try to sell the club, sell how I want the club to move forward. Obviously Petr Cech in is role [as technical and performance advisor] does the same.
‘I did that to the best of my ability when I speak to players because with a player like Timo, we were very, very keen to bring him in and he needs to feel that from us.
‘I loved everything that he said to me in those conversations, the same with all the players I’ve spoken to when they’re coming in. That manager-player conversation is really important. The relationship needs to be good and positive going forwards.
‘All you can do is your best as a club because you know the competition are doing their best, and I think we can be happy that we’ve bought in players of their level. Now they’re here and its stage two - getting them settled and playing to the best of their abilities, and we need to give them all a bit of time.’
Lampard is keen to stress the new players coming in are not direct competition for individuals in the team. Instead it is about increasing the flexibility and the options available to him and he has seen in Mason Mount for instance, the right reaction to the strengthening of the squad that is part of life at a big club.
‘The last few days we’ve trained with these new players that everyone is very excited about and focused on at the moment. The way Mason has trained since coming back from England shows to me that when I talk about players that will react in a positive way and up their game, Mason is one of them. And that’s what I want from all the young lads.
‘I just saw it as a challenge,’ Lampard recalls of the time when he was in a similar situation as a Chelsea player.
‘When players come in that add quality to the squad, they might be in similar position to you or not, it should lift the team. Players with the right mentality will up their game, make friends with the player, make them feel welcome and try to work as well as they can within the squad. Hopefully then you see levels raised throughout the squad.
‘That was something that did occur in those times. I was a young player, so was John [Terry] and so were others in the group. The core of those young players in that group did react and we managed to form a good group going forward.’