The £70million signing of Kai Havertz – the seventh acquisition of a remarkable Chelsea summer – leaves Frank Lampard with no excuses next season: he must lead a challenge for the Premier League title.

Expectations were at a Roman Abramovich era low in the summer of 2019. An Eden Hazard-less, transfer ban-hampered, academy-driven side didn’t need to do much for their legendary manager’s first season to be deemed a success. And it was: a fourth-placed Premier League finish meant the Stamford Bridge conveyor belt would – for the time being – be reserved only for players.

Not since the 2004-05 season, when Jose Mourinho signed Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho, Arjen Robben and Petr Cech, have Chelsea won the transfer window so dramatically. And those players, although they all turned out to be world-beaters, were at the time seen as high-risk compared to those Lampard has persuaded to join. His is now arguably the best squad in the Premier League: one that therefore has to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City.

Chelsea are the buyers in a sellers’ market. With their head remaining above water through an embargoed season, they now bob lonely but happily on the surface while other European powerhouses struggle for breath. Four players – Havertz, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell – bought from four of Europe’s most upwardly mobile clubs, and Thiago Silva, pinched for free from a fellow juggernaut soon to find out just how important he was. It’s been near perfect business. Continue reading

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