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Chelsea need to sell before strengthening leaky defence

Chelsea will need to sell players this summer before handing Frank Lampard additional funds to strengthen his defensive options during the transfer window.

The west London outfit have been amongst the most active clubs in the Premier League so far this summer, securing the hugely exciting additions of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner from Ajax and RB Leipzig respectively to bolster Lampard’s attacking options ahead of the new campaign.

Chelsea are also continuing to press ahead with a deal to sign Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen, the highly-rated midfielder keen on a switch to Stamford Bridge and set to cost in the region of £70m following another impressive season in the Bundesliga.

Havertz’s potential arrival will likely take the club’s spending to around £150m but Lampard is still keen for further additions, though the Telegraph are reporting that funds will need to be raised via player sales to finance defensive additions.

No side in the Premier League’s top half conceded more goals than Chelsea (56) this season, and the Blues have been linked with a host of potential targets, with the likes of Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez and Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell amongst the names reported to be on Lampard’s radar.

West Ham’s versatile midfielder Declan Rice – who was released by Chelsea as a teenager – is also high on Lampard’s wish-list with the club believing the 21-year-old’s long-term future lies in central defence.

Amongst those who could depart include left-back duo Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri, neither player having convinced Lampard of their ability to be a first-team regular in his new-look side.

Chelsea also currently have four centre-back options in their squad and one will likely have to depart in order to bring in a new addition, the club potentially willing to consider bids for Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christensen, whilst youngster Fikayo Tomori has been linked with a loan move to West Ham as a makeweight in a potential deal for Rice.

One star who could also leave this summer is midfielder Jorginho, Lampard willing to sanction the sale of the Italy international who has frequently been linked with a reunion with Maurizio Sarri at Juventus.

Goalkeeper also remains a position of concern given the struggles of Kepa Arrizabalaga this season, the Blues having been linked with Jan Oblak, Andre Onana and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, and Lampard has admitted that improving his defence is high amongst his priorities this summer.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Lampard said. “We’re trying to play a certain way. I know the teams now at the top of the game – Liverpool and Manchester City – have been through similar periods in the early stages of their managers being at the clubs so it’s a work in progress for me.

“I can’t shelve it in another direction. We have to work defensively as a group but some of the individual errors we’re making have cost us goals and they can’t be there if we want to keep moving forward.

“We’ve had a good season but there are areas to improve and defensively of course we have to improve.”

‘Players need a break’ – Lampard says Premier League’s September 12 start date is ‘too early’

See also – Ranking the six best Premier League signings of 2019/20

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