The subject of transfer spending was much discussed in the weeks that led up to the start of the new season, and it continues with today’s opponents Liverpool having added to their squad on Friday by buying Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich.
The strengthening of his own squad is something Frank Lampard has been asked about again in the build-up to our hosting of Jurgen Klopp’s side at Stamford Bridge, which could be a home debut for his most recent addition Kai Havertz (as well as Timo Werner).The young German played in the win at Brighton, which as the boss explains, came after limited preparation time, but first he thinks back to recruiting Havertz the first place.‘I was able to have some conversations with Kai as the buying process happened,’ Lampard says.‘I did as much watching of him as a player as I could and by that time Timo Werner had arrived at the club and Timo and Kai are pretty close, so I could ask him quite a lot about Kai. They play in the national team together so we had some very good background on him, and I was very struck by the first conversations I had with Kai, by his humility and how he is as a person.'
Lampard goes on to explain why humility is a characteristic he especially loves in players.‘It comes with the idea that they just want to improve and come here and be a success. I know he has great talent and I have seen that in the first week that he has been here.‘It is important to be clear that before the Brighton game he had trained for four or five days and two or three of those were the build up to a game, when you can’t even work that hard.‘The fitness levels for Kai were very difficult and they are only going to get better and they will get better very quickly. I have certainly seen big parts of his talent and the same as with Timo, I have no doubt the impact he is going to have here as a Chelsea player.’
Although it is often portrayed at the moment that Chelsea are the one club that has significantly added to its squad, Lampard sees others around also strengthening, especially if a longer-term view than just the last couple of months is taken.‘When we could not do much business last summer, we also lost probably the best player in the Premier League [in Eden Hazard, who in the modern market with years on his contract would have been a £200 million pound player at that time,’ Lampard points out.‘It is not just Man United who have spent money since then, there are teams around us, Tottenham, Arsenal, who spent last summer, spent in January and are spending again. So the competition always remains strong.‘A squad remaining the same for two or three windows generally is not a positive thing, we have seen it with other clubs where if you don’t make that freshness and changes and strive for improvement then it can be very hard to keep moving forward.
‘I think we did address it this summer but I would be pretty naïve to think that does not change any outlook in terms of expectation. It has to change it, we have to want to improve and close the gap upwards on Liverpool and Manchester City. We also look around us and see Arsenal improving and Tottenham with a front three, if Gareth Bale comes along, that will be very dangerous.‘So there are lots of teams that are trying to do the same as us. I don’t want to get too caught up in the expectations, my biggest expectations are what I put on myself from what I can work on with this squad, which I am very confident in now.‘It has to be a game-by-game mindset. We have a win over Brighton and now we are playing the champions, so can we get a win over them and move forward in that direction to try to gain confidence.’
Read: Lampard on Liverpool challenge and finding the right balance