Stam

Getty Images

Should Chelsea risk not selling Hudson-Odoi?

1 Comment

With Chelsea likely unable to sign any new players this summer, the club’s biggest decision before the close of the European transfer windows in early September is whether it can hold onto one of its rising stars.

It took Maurizio Sarri months, but he finally moved Callum Hudson-Odoi into his Premier League starting XI, and it appeared to pay dividends, despite Bayern Munich reportedly hot on Hudson-Odoi’s tail. Unfortunately for Hudson-Odoi, he suffered a season-ending injury in mid-April, an Achilles tear that could keep him out from 9-12 months or more.

[READ: USMNT’s Novakovich scores for Reading]

However, the injury hasn’t deterred Bayern, which is reportedly raising its offer for Hudson-Odoi to $56.6 million, more than $12 million above the club’s last reported bid on January 31.

For a Chelsea club that isn’t spending like it used to, that’s quite a bit of money to bring in for a player who is rehabbing a very serious injury, and for all they know, won’t find the game-changing speed again, though there’s every chance he can make a full recovery.

In addition, it’s a decent sum and likely one of the best offers Chelsea may get while it have a chance. Hudson-Odoi is entering the final 12 months of his contract. Sarri urged him to stay at Chelsea, and Lampard has said in press conferences that he plans to meet with Hudson-Odoi to try and convince him to remain at Stamford Bridge. However, Lampard will have to wait a few weeks, as Hudson-Odoi is recovering at Chelsea’s practice facility in Cobham, south of London, and the club is heading out soon to Japan for preseason training.

By the time Lampard comes back in late July, will it be too late to convince Hudson-Odoi to stay, that he can have a Jadon Sancho-like impact in England as well? Or will Bayern have turned his head again?

It’s a big question for Chelsea, and they have to judge what his potential future value is and whether Bayern passes that. Due to the injury, it’s fair to say that Chelsea won’t expect too much productivity out of Hudson-Odoi this season, but in the future, if he returns to his previous speed and form, he could be a key member of the squad.

Perhaps Chelsea can let Hudson-Odoi leave and include a buy-back clause after one or two seasons, allowing Chelsea to re-purchase Hudson-Odoi at a spot lower than his market value.

But either way, Chelsea has a massive decision to make in the next 40 or so days, as Callum Hudson-Odoi’s future remains in the balance.

Villa reportedly lands promotion star Mings from Bournemouth for big fee

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

One-time Bournemouth transfer record signing Tyrone Mings is ending his injury-hampered time with the Cherries, but staying in the Premier League.

And he’s about to become a two-time club record signing.

Aston Villa will reportedly announce his capture on a deal for a reported $25 million which could rise to $31 million.

[ MORE: 3 things from the Gold Cup Final ]

He signed a second deal with the Cherries in 2017, but will still likely be more remembered for his nasty streak. He stepped on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s head while with Bournemouth and later bloodied Nelson Oliviera’s face in a similar but worse manner while on loan at Villa.

A left back at Bournemouth, Mings has played just 857 Premier League minutes since making the jump from Ipswich Town to Bournemouth in 2015. He played center back for Villa in a half-season which included a pivotal role in Villa’s playoff run to the Premier League.

If the fee seems a lot, it’s probably down to the positional switch.

Villa’s next game is against Minnesota United on July 17.

Five things Lampard should focus on at Chelsea

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Frank Lampard has returned home to take charge of Chelsea, but what should be his top priorities at Stamford Bridge?

Super Frank no doubt has a longggg to-do list…

Lampard, 41, knows he will be given a little extra time compared to most given his legendary status as their all-time leading goalscorer and winning every trophy possible during his glittering 13-year career in west London.

But he must hit the ground running at his former club as Chelsea negotiate a 12-month transfer ban, the loss of Eden Hazard and all the while try to challenge for trophies domestically and in Europe, while at the very least finish in the Premier League’s top four.

Here’s a look at what Lampard should focus on.


Use club legend status sparingly

Lampard is called Super Frank by everyone connected with Chelsea for a reason. He won every major trophy possible during his incredible career at Stamford Bridge and nobody has scored more goals than him in the famous blue shirt.

He knows that he can’t rely on his legendary status as a player. And he shouldn’t if he wants to be successful.

“My playing career is over. I am now in a position to work really hard to be successful in,” Lampard said. “I don’t want to take credit for my playing career. It should last five minutes. I should be judged on what I do here going forward.”

That is the correct way to approach this. At times Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been a little too keen to bring up past achievements at United and relate them to his current role as the head coach. Lampard shouldn’t make that same mistake. His legendary status at Chelsea will be intact however his stint as manager turns out, but he must be careful to not harp on about the glory years too much.


Replace Hazard’s influence

Lampard has said it will be a team approach in replacing Hazard’s goals and assists, as the Belgian star departed for Real Madrid earlier this summer.

Willian, Pedro, Christian Pulisic, Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi will be tasked with creating and scoring more goals, while Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham will both be key as the central striker to making this Hazard-less Chelsea attack tick. That is the right approach to take for Chelsea. Hazard scored 16 times in the PL last season, but Willian and Pedro scored just 11 PL goals combined. They have to do better, and others have to step up too.

Chelsea’s new manager was right to state that losing Hazard is a blow but he didn’t seem overly bothered about something that happened when he wasn’t at the club and he couldn’t control. Let’s hope Lampard doesn’t start rolling out the ‘well, we lost Hazard over the summer’ line when Chelsea have a few poor results in December…


Promote youth team players sensibly

There is a strong feeling that Lampard will usher in plenty of young players right away, but that could be a bad move.

Chelsea still have a lot of very talented experience players. N’Golo Kante, David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta and Willian are key members of this squad and it should remain that way. But under Lampard the likes of Mason Mount, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham and Fikayo Tomori will all be given chances to develop into first team players.

“Part of my job now is to develop the great young players we have here,” Lampard has noted.

But he knows that he needs his entire squad, many of whom he played with like Luiz, Azpilicueta and Willian, to buy-in to what he’s doing right away if this is going to go well in Year One.

“I want players that whether you are 18 years of age or 32 years of age, you feel like Chelsea is your club,” Lampard said. “My idea is to work with the best squad and to get the most out of them and be as competitive as we can be.”

Promoting youngsters for the sake of it helps nobody. Doing it sensibly while still being brave enough to chuck them in at the deep end must be Lampard’s mindset. He knows that his squad will be stretched to the limits and youngsters will play a big role this season, even if they don’t play the starring roles many expect.


Be strong enough to implement his philosophy

Lampard has played with some of the players he now manages and that does create an odd dynamic.

It is something which could get in the way of him being brave enough to stamp his authority on the dressing room. Yes, what he has achieved as a player will earn him plenty of respect from Chelsea’s squad but after a few poor results we will see what kind of character he is as a head coach. And we all know Chelsea’s dressing room is extremely strong when it comes to trying to impact the future of a manager.

With the experience of just one year as a manager, Lampard has to be strong enough to stand his ground and stick to his playing philosophy, as he did at Derby with a flexible 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 with a midfield diamond formations.

Asked during his opening press conference about his relative inexperience in management, Lampard gave a quite brilliant answer.

“I presumed that question would come quite early,” Lampard said. “I thought about it a lot. It’s an obvious question and I understand. In one year in management, you get the Chelsea job which doesn’t come around very often. Football is littered with stories of inexperienced managers who do spectacularly well and some who don’t, as well as experienced managers who do well or don’t. What I do believe in is that I played under a lot of fantastic managers and tried to glean whatever I could from them, and that stands me in good stead. I know a lot about this club but I have to prove it. I believe in myself and I have to show I am ready to manage this club. Be it with one year experience or 10 years of experience.”


Keep expectations realistic

Lampard said Chelsea should be “there or thereabouts” in terms of winning the Premier League title and although he says the board haven’t set a minimum target of finishing in the top four, he knows that it is expected.

Keeping realism is key for Lampard this season.

“There are variables, we know about the transfer ban and that Man City and Liverpool pulled away last year. We all have to be realistic about that,” Lampard said. “We should never stop trying to be there, as Chelsea, we are working to try to be there. It is important we start this season competitive and wanting to win.”

At Chelsea it has always been important to be successful and win trophies, and even if you are able to do that it wouldn’t guarantee you a long-term job.

With other factors impacting Lampard’s first few years in charge, he will get a little extra leeway. Even if he doesn’t want it.

“I am a realist. The last thing I want to do is ask for any favors going into something,” Lampard said. “As a manager you understand very quickly that you have to be successful.”

Reports: Lampard to be confirmed as Chelsea manager Thursday

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It appears only the official club announcement on its website and multiple social media platforms is all that stands between Frank Lampard becoming Chelsea’s new manager.

Multiple outlets in England reported Wednesday evening that Lampard arrived at Stamford Bridge late in the afternoon to put the finishing touches on his contract. He likely also took part in a photo shoot and interviews that are all expected to be released on Thursday. One report claimed that Lampard’s announcement as manager was delayed because Facebook and Instagram were experiencing technical difficulties on Wednesday, although it’s not clear that that was the the case.

[READ: Netherlands advances to Women’s World Cup final]

The move has seemed inevitable since Derby County officially granted Chelsea the right to speak with Lampard about the Blues open managerial position.

As Chelsea is about to kick off its preseason training, it’s been without a coach since Mid-June, when Maurizio Sarri left the club to take the Juventus job.

Lampard comes with just one season of managerial experience, his last season at Derby where he led them to the Championship Playoff Final, but he wasn’t able to see his side promoted to the Premier League.

The Guardian reports that Lampard has received assurances he will be given time to mold the squad to his liking, especially with an expected transfer ban to be in place this summer. The ban, issued by FIFA and currently being litigated in the Court for Arbitration of Sport, could potentially last through June 2020.

The hiring of Lampard is a big departure from the more recent trend of hiring experienced managers, with Sarri, Antonio Conte, Rafa Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti all bringing tears of experience with them.

However, Lampard’s preferred high-pressing style he displayed with Derby could fit with a younger Chelsea squad were expected to see this season, as older players like Willian and Pedro could leave entering the final years of their contracts.

Lampard will be given time and trust by the fans, but it remains to be seen how they’ll feel if Chelsea is sitting in tenth place after the first three months of the season, for example.

Reports: Frank Lampard sealed as next Chelsea manager

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to the English tabloids, including the Daily Mail and The Mirror, Frank Lampard has sealed his contract to become the next manager of Chelsea.

Lampard was officially excused from Derby County preseason which began Monday, the club confirmed, and Derby even went so far as to affirm they are acting under the assumption that the 41-year-old will indeed move to Stamford Bridge.

According to the tabloid reports, Lampard’s Chelsea contract will earn him a base salary in the $5-6 million per year range plus a host of incentives, including a $1.3 million bonus for Champions League qualification. The only question at this point is whether Lampard will convince Shay Given, an assistant with him at Derby, to join him at Chelsea. It’s possible Given may stay at Derby as goalkeeping coach.

Derby will be owed $5 million in compensation for Lampard’s signature as well, the Mirror reports.

Lampard’s only coaching experience is his one year at Derby County, where he led the team to the playoff final, where the Rams fell to Aston Villa. The former Chelsea midfielder is the Blues’ all-time leading scorer with 211 goals during his 11-year career with the club.

Darren Moore and Aitor Karanka are in the running to replace Lampard at Derby, the Daily Mail reports.