They were shackled by a transfer ban this time last year, so it’s little surprise that Chelsea couldn’t resist the urge to splurge in the first summer without any strings attached.
They do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
And at a time when other clubs are looking to rein in their spending, Chelsea are busy making it rain.
Frank Lampard has spent big on building a frightening Chelsea team for next season
Timo Werner (left) and Hakim Ziyech (right) are already through the doors at Chelsea
Thiago Silva’s signing on a free transfer from PSG was confirmed by Chelsea on Friday morning
First it was Hakim Ziyech, an astute signing from Ajax at £38million. Then Chelsea made a statement by beating Liverpool to Timo Werner’s £53m signature.
They will smash their club record to buy one of Europe’s most auspicious talents in Kai Havertz for £90m, to underline that statement.
Ben Chilwell, £50m from Leicester, and Thiago Silva, a free transfer arrival from Paris Saint-Germain, have been recruited to invigorate a back line that conceded 79 times in all competitions last season and will provide a nice mix of youth and experience. Malang Sarr is another free arrival, but he will be sent out on loan.
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is widely regarded as one of the best young shot-stoppers around and is being lined up to replace the error-strewn Kepa Arrizabalga for a fee of around £30m.
Lampard has covered every base and spared no expense.
Ben Chilwell is the latest Chelsea signing, joining from Leicester in a £50m deal
The additions to this new-look Chelsea will have cost around the £250m mark once all their targets are through the doors.
On paper Lampard has assembled a squad that looks very capable of challenging for the Premier League title and that must be the goal.
He has added depth and class to his squad and brought in accomplished and ambitious players.
Only after careful consideration were the pound notes flicked away from their palms and into the vendors’ back pockets.
A quick look at the shape Chelsea are in for the upcoming season may even be pretty enough to distract from their pre-season chaos – with eight players in quarantine after six tested positive for coronavirus on returning from their sunshine holidays across Europe.
While it is not known which six players tested positive, it is confirmed that those in self-isolation are Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic and Fikayo Tomori, who all holidayed together in Mykonos, plus Ross Barkley, Michy Batshuayi, Jorginho and Emerson.
Lampard will be angered by the situation but the thought that at some point next season he’ll be able to play Mount and Pulisic either side of Havertz in a dream three behind Werner will at the very least offer a crumb of comfort.
Chelsea have agreed a club-record £90m fee to sign Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen
Ajax keeper Andre Onana is on Chelsea’s radar and would complete their summer overhaul
Havertz had been the Chelsea boss’s No 1 target this summer and next to Pulisic and Mount will be a frightening prospect for any Premier League defence. Not to mention with Germany striker Werner – who scored 34 times last campaign – leading the line.
Mount and Pulisic are two of the stars now likely to miss the start of the new season due to their minimum period of 10 days in self-isolation but Lampard will be able to call upon summer signing Ziyech to fill the void – by no means an inadequate replacement.
Ziyech is a highly-gifted technical player but with Havertz inbound it’s going to be hard for Lampard to squeeze them both into the same team. And with Mount playing more games than any other Chelsea player last season, it’s likely he’ll be trusted to operate from the right as part of Lampard’s strongest team.
In central midfield Lampard will pair N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic – who was named Chelsea’s player of the season last term – whenever he can.
Last season Lampard toyed with the idea of promoting Emerson to be his main left-back but was unconvinced by the Italian and ultimately ended up rotating him with Marcos Alonso.
Chilwell will be the first-choice now and will bring consistency and continuity to the role. The England international is a danger at both ends of the pitch, being both solid defensively and a menace going forward.
This is how Chelsea’s starting XI could look next season if all expected signings are made
AND THEY’LL HAVE A PRETTY GOOD BENCH!
Players likely to be substitutes:
Hakim Ziyech, Tammy Abraham, Jorginho, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Cesar Azpilicueta, Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Billy Gilmour.
He has a sweet left foot and adds a new dimension to Chelsea’s attacking play.
Silva’s signing has raised some eyebrows but the Brazilian icon is expected to play an instrumental role despite turning 36 next month, with Lampard possibly ready to hand him the captain’s armband.
The experienced centre-back will be a bonus on and off the pitch and could be used to play a hand in helping Chelsea’s younger players develop.
Kurt Zouma enjoyed his best season to date as a Chelsea player last term but there remains a general feeling he has not quite yet fulfilled his potential. Silva could be key in helping him do that.
The Frenchman can sometimes be a liability and so having a sure head like Silva alongside him will serve as a huge benefit.
Reece James broke through last term and is expected to be given the opportunity to make that right-back spot his own next season.
Tammy Abraham proved his quality last season and will provide competition for Werner
Blues starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi is someone capable of influencing a game off the bench
Ajax keeper Onana remains one of Chelsea’s main targets to take the place of Kepa in goal and a deal for him would see Lampard complete his summer overhaul.
Chelsea’s existing squad already consisted of quality players like Abraham and Barkley, who may now be asked to play cameo roles off the bench and in cup competitions.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is a bright talent but has plenty to prove and is another starlet who Lampard could use to influence games. Tomori could also step up if he continues to develop.
Then there is the vast experience of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Olivier Giroud, Germany, Spain and France internationals respectively. Rudiger’s standing has taken a knock after some poor form last season, but Azpilicueta will get plenty of starts ahead of James and Zouma, depending on the requirements of the game. Giroud’s power and presence up front will offer Lampard something different to Wener’s pace and direct running.
Billy Gilmour and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are also loved at Chelsea and will get plenty of game time next season, fitness permitting.
With a line-up and squad like that, it’s exciting times at Chelsea once again.