It was only about a year ago that Chelsea FC appeared to be in shambles. Coming off their second consecutive season in which they didn’t truly compete for the Premier League title, the Southwest London club was facing a transfer ban that would disallow them from doing business in the transfer market.
Now, the Blues are showing signs of their return to glory by stealing Timo Werner out from under the nose of Liverpool, signing the RB Leipzig forward for $59 million.
Chelsea feels a far cry from their struggles of 12 or 18 months ago. And the transformation began when Frank Lampard returned home to Stamford Bridge, turning what looked like a curse of a transfer ban into a blessing.
With the man they call “Super Frank” as manager, Chelsea once again dipped into their own academy — something they’ve infamously failed to do consistently for years — to bring up the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, and Reese James, among others.
The Blues have enjoyed a much better season than many projected, as they currently sit fourth in the league with 48 points. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve been driven by that young talent in large part.
Now, Lampard and Chelsea are gearing up to contend with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City atop the league with new talent. In addition to signing Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech and Werner, the Blues hold a strong interest in Leicester City left back Ben Chilwell.
Blues Getting One of Bundesliga’s Best In Werner
Known for his speed and deadly finish, Werner has undoubtedly been one of the best players in the Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league, this season.
He’s led RB Leipzig to their current placing of third in the league, behind only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and he’s guided his team to success in the Champions League, where they topped their group ahead of Lyon and Benfica.
Now, the 24-year-old will be taking his talents to London after looking destined to join Liverpool for the last several months.
“I am delighted to be signing for Chelsea, it is a very proud moment for me to be joining this great club,” Werner said. “I, of course, want to thank RB Leipzig, the club and the fans, for four fantastic years.”
In 43 appearances in all competitions, Werner has scored 32 goals and set up another 13. With that kind of production in one of the world’s top leagues, it’s no wonder why Chelsea was so eager to bring in the German forward.
“We are very excited that Timo Werner has chosen to join Chelsea,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said. “He is a player who was coveted all over Europe, and it is no surprise; he has that rare mix of being young and exciting and yet established and proven.”
Chelsea Building a Juggernaut?
This Premier League season belongs to Liverpool, and Chelsea is in a fight to secure a top-4 placement. The Blues currently hold odds of +10000 to finish in second, following Manchester City (-6000) and Leicester City (+1300).
Yet the future looks increasingly bright for the Blues.
At this rate, Lampard will have a squad full of young talent that should pose a legitimate threat to the top teams in England and beyond.
While the Blues have struggled for goals at times, that could soon change. Next season, Chelsea will have a stable of attacking talent to call on, including Christian Pulisic, Abraham, Werner, Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and more.
Whichever attacking group Lampard puts out, they’ll benefit from a strong midfield core, which includes N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Billy Gilmour, and others.
With so many strong players on the roster, Chelsea fans are already building out their top lineups for next season. We’ll have to wait and see if Lampard’s men can keep up with England’s top teams.