Frank Lampard has defended Chelsea’s huge spending spree over the summer by insisting it was necessary to compensate for Eden Hazard’s exit.
Hazard established himself as one of Europe’s top performers during an impressive seven-year stint at Chelsea, providing 110 goals and 92 assists in 352 appearances. Two Premier League and Europa League titles also came his way.
But the Belgian winger’s departure to Real Madrid last year left a gaping hole in the Blues squad at the worst moment. Lampard, who had just become head coach back then, couldn’t sign a replacement. The club’s transfer ban from FIFA was in force by the summer of 2019.
Despite their unfavorable circumstances, Chelsea still sealed a top-four finish in the Premier League. They’ve since made a host of signings in the summer, including Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Hakim Ziyech.
A total of seven players have arrived at Stamford Bridge at an estimated cost of €247.2m.
“For me, we lost probably the best player in the league,” said Lampard as quoted on the Evening Standard. “We couldn’t do any business so the work we did was on the pitch last year.
“Teams that are striving to be in and around top six and upwards were spending last year, they were spending again this summer.
“They’ve had the opportunity with the players they bought last year to get them embedded into their teams and we’re dealing with teams above us, which is where we want to get to, where we are aspiring to get to, that have been building their squads for a long time.
“We want to build our squad. We missed two windows and now we come back in and we’ve brought players in with a view to improve us.”
Chelsea will be in action on Saturday afternoon at home to Southampton in the Premier League. The match starts at 16:00 (CET).