Frank Lampard has fired a dig at many Chelsea players after admitting he believes they will improve once the clear-out commences this summer.
The Chelsea overhaul can officially begin on June 14 when the summer transfer window opens, which will be led by the Stamford Bridge hierarchy and Mauricio Pochettino.
Pochettino, 51, was confirmed as Chelsea’s new head coach on Thursday on a two-year deal, with a club option of a further year.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain boss has his own ideas and recommendations to Chelsea have already been made over transfer acquisitions this summer. A goalkeeper, a midfielder and a new striker are all wanted by the Argentine.
But the priority is on departures this summer. Following a spend in excess of £600 million in the previous two transfer windows since the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership arrived, Chelsea’s squad is bloated.
Numbers have exceeded 30 and more players are due to return to Cobham, including the likes of Levi Colwill, Malo Gusto, Andrey Santos, Romelu Lukaku and Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig.
Departures are expected. Edouard Mendy, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all set to be allowed to leave, while the futures of Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante, who is out of contract next month, are unclear.
Lampard, who took caretaker charge of the team from April until the end of the season, believes uncertain futures have played a part in standards dropping at Chelsea, which saw them finish 12th in the Premier League.
“I think some have been mindful of that for a while and it’s been part of the problem,” the 44-year-old admitted on Sunday. “It’s hard to compete in this league or at this level if some players are in that middle ground and too many are. That’s been a thing. Maybe getting to the end of it is a good thing. Whoever is emotional or has their eye on somewhere else or whether the club want them to leave or they want to leave. Now we get to the bottom of it quickly.”
As Lampard completed his final media duties, he had one final swipe at the players he was overseeing. The Chelsea legend believes the club will benefit from seeing the back of many faces this summer.
“Some players, maybe, need to move on for the team to improve in reality,” Lampard concluded to Chelsea’s in-house media team, “and maybe for their own careers to go in a different way.”