Havertz Seals Controversial Chelsea Win, Pickford Denies Liverpool

Chelsea's German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) celebrates after scoring his team second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London on September 3, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) celebrates after scoring his team second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London on September 3, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Kai Havertz scored the late winner as big-spending Chelsea fought back for a controversial 2-1 win against West Ham, while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praised Everton keeper Jordan Pickford’s “spectacular” display in Saturday’s goalless Merseyside derby.

Having embarked on a £250 million ($280 million) spending spree in the summer transfer window, Chelsea are expected to deliver on their new owners’ eye-watering investment.

The early returns had been mixed as Chelsea crashed to defeats against Leeds and Southampton.

So when Michail Antonio gave West Ham a shock 62nd minute lead with a close-range finish, the critics were sharpening their knives at Stamford Bridge.

But Ben Chilwell equalised in the 76th minute, just three minutes after the England left-back replaced Marc Cucurella.

Chilwell headed Thiago Silva’s lofted ball past his marker, spun around and poked his shot through Lukasz Fabianski’s legs from a tight angle.

Kai Havertz cleverly finished off Chilwell’s cross to complete Chelsea’s escape in the 88th minute of a thrilling finale.

There was still more drama as Maxwel Cornet appeared to equalise in stoppage-time, only for the goal to be controversially disallowed by VAR for Jarrod Bowen’s foul on Mendy.

Thomas Tuchel’s side remain unconvincing but they are up to fifth place after their third win in six games, while West Ham boss David Moyes was livid with the officials for denying his team a point.

At Goodison Park, there was more VAR intrigue as Conor Coady thought he had put Everton ahead with a close-range finish from Neal Maupay’s shot in the second half.

But Coady’s goal was correctly disallowed for offside after a VAR check.

There could easily have been goals aplenty but for a man of the match display from Pickford and some fine stops from his Liverpool counterpart Alisson Becker.

“Wow, what can you do? It was a great derby, super intense, with a lot of really spectacular saves,” Klopp said.

“We hit the post three times and Pickford made so many saves. I don’t know how many derbies I’ve been in, but it’s quite a few and they’re always difficult here.”

Everton are now without a victory in their first six games this term, while Liverpool’s momentum was checked after winning their previous two matches.

Kane reaches milestone

Unbeaten Tottenham made it four wins from six games with a 2-1 victory against Fulham in north London.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg broke the deadlock for Tottenham in the 40th minute, sweeping home from Richarlison’s pass.

Harry Kane increased Tottenham’s lead in the 74th minute from Ryan Sessegnon’s cross to become the third highest goal-scorer in the Premier League history, with 188 goals taking him past Andy Cole.

Only Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208) are now above Kane in the scoring chart.

Kane’s goal also moved him level with Thierry Henry’s tally of 43 in Premier League London derbies.

Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic curled home in the 82nd minute, but Tottenham held firm.

Managerless Bournemouth came back from two goals down to win 3-2 in a thriller at Nottingham Forest.

The Cherries, who lost 9-0 at Liverpool last weekend, looked on course for another thrashing as Forest led at the break through Cheikhou Kouyate’s header and Brennan Johnson’s penalty.

But Philip Billing’s long-range blast and Dominic Solanke’s acrobatic effort drew them level before Jaidon Anthony sealed the points in the 87th minute.

Ivan Toney scored a hat-trick as Brentford beat Leeds 5-2 at the Community Stadium.

Daniel Podence scored as Wolves beat Southampton 1-0 at Molineux for their first league victory this season.

Podence’s simple finish in first-half stoppage time lifted Bruno Lage’s side out of the relegation zone.

Newcastle striker Alexander Isak wasted the opportunity to mark his home debut with a goal as Crystal Palace drew 0-0 at St James’ Park.

The £60 million ($69 million) man, who scored in his first appearance at Liverpool in midweek, missed two good chances to leave Newcastle without a win since the opening day of the season.

AFP

Chelsea Boost Top-Four Bid, Leeds Beaten In Marsch’s First Game

Chelsea's German midfielder Kai Havertz (C) heads the ball and scores the second goal of his team during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on March 5, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (C) heads the ball and scores the second goal of his team during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on March 5, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Chelsea ignored the drama over Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell the club as Kai Havertz inspired a 4-0 rout of Premier League strugglers Burnley, while Leeds manager Jesse Marsch suffered a 1-0 defeat at Leicester in his first game on Saturday.

All Premier League captains were wearing armbands in Ukraine colours this weekend and clubs held a minute’s applause in a show of solidarity with the country following Russia’s invasion.

The war has indirectly taken a major toll on Chelsea, with Russian oligarch Abramovich putting the club up for sale amid fears he may be sanctioned by the British government for his alleged links with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abramovich’s vast investment delivered 19 major trophies in his 19-year reign, including the Champions League and Club World Cup under current boss Thomas Tuchel.

READ ALSO: Onazi On Standby, Ighalo Returns As Nigeria Name Squad For Ghana Clash

But Chelsea face an uncertain future in the post-Abramovich era, putting pressure on Tuchel to keep the team on track during the transition to a new owner.

Qualifying for the Champions League is essential to that ambition and third-placed Chelsea remain on course after brushing aside third-bottom Burnley at Turf Moor.

After Chelsea fans chanted Abramovich’s name during the applause for Ukraine, Reece James put them ahead in the 47th minute with a fierce finish.

Havertz doubled the lead with a header from Christian Pulisic’s cross five minutes later.

The German forward, again replacing club record signing Romelu Lukaku, made it three goals in nine minutes with a close-range strike from James’ cross.

Pulisic tapped in Chelsea’s fourth in the 69th minute from Saul Niguez’s deflected cross.

Chelsea’s third successive league win moved them six points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United.

“The team stepped up and didn’t get distracted. They were ready to battle again. It shows their character and I’m very proud of them,” Tuchel said.

Leeds beaten on Marsch bow

Marsch has been hired to save Leeds from relegation after replacing Marcelo Bielsa.

But he was unable to spark an immediate improvement in their fortunes as Harvey Barnes bagged the winner in the 67th minute.

After a series of fine saves from Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel, Barnes struck with a cool finish from inside the area.

Marsch is just the second American to take charge of a Premier League club after Bob Bradley’s brief spell at Swansea in 2016.

Dismissed by RB Leipzig in December after a disappointing five-month spell, Marsch has a massive job on his hands to change perceptions of American coaches while keeping Leeds afloat.

Leeds have lost their last five games and sit just two points above the relegation zone.

“After four days together and to have changed a lot of the tactics, I’m really proud of the group,” Marsch said.

“We are getting to know each other. To play so well at a tough place, it doesn’t feel right that we didn’t get what we deserved but that’s sport. A big first step for us.”

Ivan Toney’s hat-trick lifted Brentford to their first win in 10 league games as the Bees moved six points clear of the relegation zone with a 3-1 victory at bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

Christian Eriksen provided the assist for Toney’s opener in his first competitive start since suffering a cardiac arrest playing for Denmark at the last year’s European Championship.

Newcastle extended their unbeaten run to eight league games with goals from Ryan Fraser and Fabian Schar clinching a 2-1 win against Brighton at St James’ Park.

In severe relegation trouble when Eddie Howe took over as manager, Newcastle are now seven points above the bottom three.

Aston Villa thrashed Southampton 4-0 thanks to goals from Ollie Watkins, Douglas Luiz, Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings.

Jean-Philippe Mateta and Wilfried Zaha scored in Crystal Palace’s 2-0 victory at Wolves.

Later on Saturday, second-placed Liverpool can move within three points of leaders Manchester City if they beat West Ham at Anfield.

City play Manchester United on Sunday, giving Jurgen Klopp’s side a chance to pile pressure on the champions before the derby at the Etihad Stadium.

 

AFP

Holders Chelsea Beat Lille 2-0 In Champions League Last 16 First Leg

Chelsea's German midfielder Kai Havertz (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Chelsea and Lille (LOSC) at Stamford Bridge stadium, in London, on February 22, 2022. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Chelsea and Lille (LOSC) at Stamford Bridge stadium, in London, on February 22, 2022. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic scored as Chelsea beat Lille 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Havertz headed the reigning European champions into the lead in the eighth minute and Pulisic doubled their advantage on a breakaway just after the hour.

The result leaves the French champions up against it going into the return leg on March 16.

Havertz Extra-Time Penalty Secures Chelsea Club World Cup Title

Chelsea's players celebrate with their trophy after winning the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final football match against Brazil's Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, on February 12, 2022. KARIM SAHIB / AFP
Chelsea’s players celebrate with their trophy after winning the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final football match against Brazil’s Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, on February 12, 2022. KARIM SAHIB / AFP

 

Kai Havertz scored a penalty deep into extra time as Chelsea defeated Palmeiras 2-1 in the Club World Cup final on Saturday to complete their collection of major trophies.

Romelu Lukaku’s superb header gave the European champions the lead on 54 minutes but Raphael Veiga levelled from the spot for the Copa Libertadores winners just past the hour in Abu Dhabi.

Havertz, the hero in the Champions League final against Manchester City, was Chelsea’s match-winner again as he converted a penalty on 117 minutes awarded following a VAR review.

Chelsea have now claimed every possible trophy since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003, and become the third English side to win the global tournament after Manchester United and Liverpool.

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The Blues avenged their 1-0 loss to Corinthians in the 2012 final, but will have little time to celebrate with a critical stretch on the horizon once they return to London.

They face Lille in the Champions League last 16 either side of the League Cup final against Liverpool and FA Cup fifth round, playing in four different competitions in 12 days.

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel was back in the dugout having flown out to Abu Dhabi on Friday after missing the past two games following a positive test for Covid-19.

Edouard Mendy returned in goal in the wake of Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations victory, at the expense of Kepa Arrizabalaga, whose much improved form is likely to attract interest from other clubs in the summer.

Chelsea's players celebrate after winning the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final football match against Brazil's Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, on February 12, 2022. KARIM SAHIB / AFP
Chelsea’s players celebrate after winning the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final football match against Brazil’s Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, on February 12, 2022.
KARIM SAHIB / AFP

 

Chelsea’s decline in the Premier League has coincided with lack of authority and conviction, and despite controlling possession it wasn’t until the end of the first half they forced Weverton into a save.

Even then, Thiago Silva’s searing drive from distance appeared to be going wide.

In contrast, Palmeiras were twice left to rue their lack of efficiency as Dudu stabbed well wide before Andreas Christensen made a key intervention to negate a promising attack for the Brazilians.

Lukaku rises to the occasion

Lukaku has struggled to meet expectations after rejoining Chelsea from Inter Milan as the club’s record signing, but the Belgian made it two goals in as many games here early in the second half.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, given the nod at left wing-back, whipped in a cross and Lukaku soared above two defenders to power beyond Weverton.

Christian Pulisic, brought on 30 minutes in for the injured Mason Mount, curled just wide after tidy interplay with Lukaku, but Chelsea gave Palmeiras a way back in when Silva handled in the area.

Australian referee Chris Beath was recommended to review the incident on the touchline monitor as Palmeiras players and coach Abel Ferreira appealed, and he almost immediately pointed to the spot.

Veiga, on target in the 2-0 win over Al Ahly, held his nerve to slam the penalty beyond Mendy, greeted with bellowing roars from many of the near-capacity 32,871 in attendance — the majority wearing the green and white of Palmeiras.

Pulisic again rolled an effort narrowly wide from an inviting lay-off and extra time came as little surprise, Chelsea forced to play an extra 30 minutes for the second time in a week.

A frantic scramble inside the six-yard box saw Pulisic bundle against the bar, although an offside in the build-up would have ruled out any goal.

Timo Werner curled over as time ticked away and Palmeiras defended deep, but Chelsea got the late breakthrough when Luan was penalised for blocking Cesar Azpilicueta’s volley with his arm.

Havertz sent Weverton the wrong way to spark wild celebrations, and a bitter night for Palmeiras culminated in them finishing with 10 men after Luan was sent off for scything down the German.

 

AFP

EPL: Havertz Stars As Chelsea Tighten Grip On Fourth Place

Chelsea's German midfielder Kai Havertz celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge in London on May 1, 2021. Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge in London on May 1, 2021. Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP

 

Chelsea cemented their grip on fourth place in the Premier League as Kai Havertz struck twice to seal a 2-0 win over struggling Fulham on Saturday.

Thomas Tuchel’s side warmed up for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid with a ruthless display at Stamford Bridge.

Havertz netted in each half to lift Chelsea six points clear of fifth-placed West Ham in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish.

West Ham have a game in hand at Burnley on Monday, but Chelsea are looking up not down after they closed the gap on third-placed Leicester to just two points with four games left.

“We were spot on. It was what we demanded from ourselves. We showed the pride we are capable of, to do it in between two big games,” Tuchel said.

“We knew Fulham gives everyone a hard time. I’m beyond happy. There was no lack of concentration.”

Havertz’s seventh and eighth goals of an underwhelming first season at Chelsea were a welcome sign the German playmaker is finally emerging from his funk.

Since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen, Havertz has endured a bout of coronavirus and a host of diffident performances that raised doubts about his desire.

But the 21-year-old thrived in the false nine role against Fulham in an indication he could still have a part to play in Chelsea’s bid for a memorable end to the season.

“For sure, this is what we want if someone gets his chance. He scored two decisive goals and he was involved along with Timo Werner,” Tuchel said.

Just as significant as Havertz’s improvement, Chelsea remained rock solid at the back and have kept 17 clean sheets in 23 games under Tuchel.

Chelsea's German midfielder Kai Havertz (R) shoots to score the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge in London on May 1, 2021. Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (R) shoots to score the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge in London on May 1, 2021. Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP

 

The German coach’s only worry was the sight of the influential Mason Mount being treated for a back injury which he played through before being taken off in the closing stages.

“I hope really that Mason is not a big thing and hopefully he can fully recover for Real Madrid,” Tuchel said.

Chelsea have been revitalised by Tuchel since he replaced the sacked Frank Lampard in January.

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss arrived with Chelsea languishing in ninth place, but he has led them back into the top four and earned an FA Cup final date with Leicester in May.

The icing on the cake for Tuchel would be reaching the Champions League final, with Chelsea hosting Real on Wednesday as they look to capitalise on the 1-1 first-leg draw in Madrid.

Third-bottom Fulham sit nine points from safety with four games remaining and look set for relegation to the Championship.

Havertz hits his stride

It was 42 years since Fulham last won at Stamford Bridge, but they almost snatched a shock lead when Antonee Robinson’s 20-yard rocket was tipped over by Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea responded to that threat with a superbly crafted opener in the 10th minute.

Thiago Silva’s long pass was beautifully controlled by Mount and the midfielder slipped a pin-point ball through to Havertz, who slotted a composed finish into the far corner.

Fulham weren’t out of the hunt and Ademola Lookman’s low drive was pushed away at full stretch by Mendy.

Hakim Ziyech’s shot was well saved by Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola before Mendy alertly parried Ola Aina’s strike after it took a wicked deflection off Reece James.

But Havertz was beginning to hit his stride at last and he doubled Chelsea’s lead in the 49th minute.

Ben Chilwell’s long pass picked out Havertz and he glided away from two defenders to find Werner.

Werner played a deft pass through to Havertz and he capped the flowing move with a clinical finish.

For all his critics in an uneven season, the much-maligned Werner is the first player to register double figures for both goals and assists in his debut season for Chelsea since Eden Hazard in 2012-13.

 

AFP

Havertz Hat-Trick Helps Chelsea Hit Six, Arsenal Edge Out Leicester In League Cup

Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) celebrates after scoring his team’s fifth goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Chelsea and Barnsley at Stamford Bridge in London on September 23, 2020. (Photo by NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP)

 

Frank Lampard said Kai Havertz is just getting started after opening his Chelsea account with a hat-trick in a 6-0 thrashing of Barnsley, while Arsenal also booked their place in the League Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win at Leicester.

Havertz had struggled to make an impact in his first two Premier League games since sealing a reported £71 million ($94 million) move from Bayer Leverkusen as the most expensive signing of Chelsea’s £200 million spending spree in the transfer market.

But the 21-year-old German was one of just three players to retain his place from Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool and Lampard’s decision reaped its reward as he scored his first senior hat-trick.

“I am delighted with Kai, it was everything I wanted from him,” said Lampard.

“He had no pre-season so I wanted to give him more time on the pitch with his teammates, learning how we play and press. It was a great night for Kai and it is the first of many for him.”

 

Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (R) reacts as he scores his team’s fourth goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Chelsea and Barnsley at Stamford Bridge in London on September 23, 2020. (Photo by Alastair Grant / various sources / AFP) 

 

Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell also made their Chelsea debuts, while Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley made the most of rare starts to get their names on the scoresheet.

Abraham pounced on loose pass deep in the Barnsley half to slam home the opener before Havertz’s calm finish opened his Chelsea account.

A brilliant unselfish flick from Abraham teed Havertz up perfectly to convert his second after Barkley drove home on his weaker left foot.

Havertz was due to be replaced by Chilwell 25 minutes from time but just completed his hat-trick in time by rounding Brad Collins before tapping into an empty net before Olivier Giroud completed the scoring.

“I am very happy to score three goals, but this is just my beginning at the club and I want to score more and more goals,” said Havertz.

 

Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (R) celebrates with Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Chelsea and Barnsley at Stamford Bridge in London on September 23, 2020. (Photo by Alastair Grant / various sources / AFP) 

Chelsea will face either Tottenham or Leyton Orient in the last 16 with the outcome of that tie yet to be decided after the match was postponed on Tuesday due to a number of coronavirus cases among the Orient players.

Arsenal won the only all-Premier League tie of the night as Christian Fuchs’s own goal broke the deadlock at the King Power.

Eddie Nketiah added a late second for the Gunners, who could face Liverpool at Anfield twice in three days next week should the Premier League champions progress past Lincoln on Thursday.

“It’s the toughest place to go in Europe and the world,” said Gunners boss Mikel Arteta. “Let’s prepare well and see how it goes.”

Everton continued their fine start to the season with a 5-2 win at League One Fleetwood despite two howlers from England number one goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men looked to be cruising into the last 16 when Richarlison’s double gave them a deserved 2-0 half-time lead.

However, Pickford’s attempted clearance was charged down for Mark Duffy to pull a goal back.

Alex Iwobi restored Everton’s two-goal advantage before another Pickford mistake gave Joey Barton’s men life again as he flapped Callum Camps’s shot into his own goal.

Goals from Bernard and Moise Kean finally ended the tie as a contest, but Pickford’s place for both Ancelotti and Gareth Southgate will come under increased scrutiny in the coming weeks.

“When we concede a goal, we are always frustrated,” said Ancelotti on Pickford’s performance.

Newcastle thrashed League Two Morecombe 7-0 with Joelinton scoring twice.

Miguel Almiron, Jacob Murphy, Isaac Hayden and Jamaal Lascelles were also on the scoresheet for Steve Bruce’s men.

Fulham, Brighton and Burnley progressed 2-0 over Championship opposition in Sheffield Wednesday, Preston and Millwall respectively.

Stoke were the only non-Premier League side to go through on the night as they also beat lower league opposition in Gillingham 1-0.

 

 

 

-AFP

Chelsea Complete Signing Of Havertz From Bayer Leverkusen

Chelsea coach Frank Lampard and new signing Kai Havertz bump fists after the latter joined the English premier league club from Bayer Leverkusen on September 4, 2020.
Chelsea coach Frank Lampard and new signing Kai Havertz bump fists after the latter joined the English premier league club from Bayer Leverkusen on September 4, 2020.

 

Chelsea took their summer spending spree to nearly £200 million with the signing of German international Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen on a five-year deal on Friday.

Havertz’s arrival at Stamford Bridge for a reported £71 million ($94 million) is the Blues’ latest statement of intent as they seek to cut the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

The 21-year-old, who can play as an attacking midfielder or as a forward, joins international teammate Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva in joining the club for Frank Lampard’s second season in charge.

Chelsea finished fourth in the Premier League last season, 33 points behind champions Liverpool.

“I am very happy and proud to be here. For me it is a dream come true to play in a big club like Chelsea and I can’t wait to meet all the players and the trainers,” Havertz told the Chelsea website.

Havertz’s move eclipses Werner’s short-lived record as Germany’s most expensive footballer after he joined Chelsea for 53 million euros in June.

That is not the only record Havertz has taken from Werner.

He succeeded the former RB Leipzig striker as the youngest player to make 50 and then 100 Bundesliga appearances since becoming Leverkusen’s youngest ever player when he made his debut at 17.

He scored 46 goals in 150 competitive games for Leverkusen, including 18 last season, but that was not enough to lead them back into the Champions League as they finished fifth in the Bundesliga and went out in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

Havertz was keen to make the move to a Champions League club and Chelsea moved quickly to secure his signature despite appearing to have more pressing concerns at the other end of the field.

‘Exciting, dynamic talent’

“Kai is one of the best players of his age in world football, so we are very happy that his future lies at Chelsea,” said Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.

“He has proven pedigree in one of the best leagues in Europe, he plays for the German national side and he is an exciting, dynamic talent. We are delighted to be able to add his versatility and quality to the squad before the season begins.”

Leverkusen’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (C) and his teammates react after the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Inter Milan v Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the Duesseldorf Arena on August 10, 2020 in Duesseldorf, western Germany. Martin Meissner / POOL / AFP

 

Havertz’s goal threat, physical attributes and ability to unlock a defence have earned him comparisons both to former Chelsea midfielder and Germany captain Michael Ballack and Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil.

“He is special. He is like a hybrid of Michael Ballack and Mesut Ozil,” said former Manchester United and Bayern Munich midfielder Owen Hargreaves. “That says a lot in terms of his goals and elegance. He is a super player.”

Huge things are expected of one of Europe’s hottest prospects and Chelsea are making up for lost time in what they believe is a buyer’s market due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

A transfer ban meant Lampard was not given any money to spend in his first season in charge, while Chelsea also banked a club record fee last summer for Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid.

The spending spree also signals that Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is still very much invested in his club’s fortunes, even if he no longer resides in London.

There could yet be more new signings to come with a goalkeeper high on Lampard’s wishlist.

Chelsea spent a world record £72 million for a goalkeeper on Kepa Arrizabalaga just two years ago, but the Spaniard lost his place to 38-year-old Willy Caballero twice last season.

 

AFP