Chelsea’s squad is bracing for a Frank Lampard-led revolution this summer, with the Blues boss reportedly set to oust four defenders amid 10 potential sales.
The legendary ex-midfielder is determined to refresh his defence after conceding more goals (54) than any other top-half Premier League team in his first season since retuning to Chelsea, finishing fourth before losing the FA Cup final to Arsenal.
The west Londoners have put Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso up for sale with N’Golo Kante also potentially leaving, according to the Times.
Zouma, 25, and Christensen, 24, have stalled in their progress after being tipped for big things as youngsters, while Antonio Conte signings Alonso and Palmieri are among those below Lampard’s required level.
Both Lampard and Mauricio Sarri having struggled to accommodate Kante in their systems and the Frenchman could be sold in an effort to prioritise the Blues’ weaker spots.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is reportedly set for a loan, with a summer sale unlikely to regain much of the £71m spent on the Spaniard after miserable season which saw Lampard lose trust in the keeper – replacing him with Willy Caballero at Wembley.
The Times also claim that Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley are available, while Michy Batshuayi has been frozen-out by Lampard.
Willian’s future is still in doubt, with the Brazilian winger having rejected Chelsea’s latest two-year contract offer, demanding a three-year deal as Arsenal and Tottenham circle.
Lampard was denied the chance to bring in reinforcements a year ago amid Chelsea’s transfer ban before a disappointing January window, but has already pulled-off some superb business – landing Timo Werner for £53m and Hakim Ziyech for £38m.
The Blues’ planned sales are designed to gather funds for more upgrades, with Leicester’s Ben Chilwell a priority at Stamford Bridge.
The Leicester full-back finished the season on the sidelines with a thigh injury but was a standout performer in Brendan Rodgers’ side, who sat in the top-four for much of the season before Chelsea and Manchester United bumped them into fifth.
The Foxes’ failure to seal a Champions League place will aid the west Londoners’ pursuit of the Englishman, with Lampard’s stature in the game also proving a boost in the transfer market after Werner claimed the England icon was a crucial factor in his decision to leave RB Leipzig behind.