I’ll begin by saying that although I’ve often been on the fence regarding Maurizio Sarri this season, I’ve also been impressed with what he has achieved with us.

I had deep concerns that he could get this squad playing the style of football that he wants. Those concerns aren’t totally gone. And if we are transfer banned, which looks more likely by the day (although I still think we would see another decent season with Sarri), I still think most of the players lack the quality to play his method of football.

Having said that, I concluded this season wanting Sarri to stay. I was happy to put my belief in him, and see if he could continue the success of winning the Europa League, and qualifying for the Champions League, and take that step up binging us closer to the top two.

Now, it appears Sarri is on the brink of joining Juventus. You’ve all seen the reasons for this, and various rumours floating around. So it’s hard to offer an opinion on this, without knowing the facts. And nobody knows these facts, so it’s out of depth to be offering strong views on who’s to blame and who isn’t to blame.

Only Sarri and the Chelsea board knows who is pushing Sarri leaving the club. Unless you were in that meeting, you do not know.

If it was a case of Sarri conceding that he cannot do any better with this squad, and since we can’t buy, he’s decided it’s best to move on – then that’s entirely fine. I personally don’t want anyone at the club who doesn’t want to be here. But that’s speculation.

If it is more a case of the board not willing to publicly back Sarri and show full support for his footballing methods, then that’s not cool. If that transpired to be true, then you’ll also find me criticising the boards decision there.

Can they do more to stop him leaving? Who knows. But if you believe the general reports, you’d certainly feel like the board aren’t entirely happy with Sarri and certain embarrassing performances this season.

So, Frank Lampard as a replacement? Too soon? Yes, probably. But at the same time, I think what he’s achieved this season has been harshly described by some. And out of the options mentioned, Lampard is my favourite choice.

Before you all start abusing me. I have my reasons.

He will arrive with Jody Morris.

Morris not only has experience managing, he’s excelled in man management and is very motivational.

But the most important thing here is, Morris has first hand experience watching a lot of the Chelsea youngsters and loanees on the training ground day in, day out. Which already puts him in a better position than me or you, to make judgements on said players and will have more accurate ratings of them.

Whether you like it or not, we might need one of two of those players to come and fill out the squad next season, and Morris will be pinnacle for choosing the right ones.

Lampard actually met the Derby boards season objectives.

Frank was to change the style of football at the club, whilst integrating younger players.

Achieved unlocked. Ok they narrowly missed out on promotion, but that wasn’t even expected of them in the first place. Ask any Derby fan, Lampard and Morris achieved above and beyond. Yet I’m seeing people claim they had a poor season?

Lampard’s style of football stays within the direction of Chelsea.

Sarri was hired because the board wanted attacking football. Sarri has done well to introduce that and on its day it has been great to watch in pockets.

I’m not claiming that Lampard plays ‘Sarriball’, but he does like to setup his team to attack, control possession, and play out from the back. He’s obviously still learning his style, but Lampard has also been brave in changing things in matches this season to get results, something that Sarri has also been criticised for.

Lampard got Derby playing some neat passing football at times, something their fans would never have imagined at the start of the year. I think Lampard could bring that to Chelsea and continue to implement that brand of football.

Lampard will have a connection with the fans, and despite common opinions, I don’t feel he will tarnish his legacy.

Chelsea wanted an attacking style of football, that’s important to their direction. But they also want their manager to have a connection with supporters, and to have a great atmosphere inside the Bridge.

Sarri has just not been that type, he’s a reserved and superstitious person. So whether it’s just his character that hasn’t allowed him to connect, who knows. This is not a criticism from me, this is something the board have picked up on and dislike.

The mood in the stadium has also been awful, often the fans have been vocal with their concerns. Again, this is just a fact, not me endorsing it.

Lampard I fully believe will maintain the backing of the Chelsea fans, even if they don’t achieve expectations in the first season.

Anyone with a brain cannot expect that if Lampard does come in, Chelsea to be fighting for the title. They’d be lucky to even get top 6, especially with that squad. But I think the stadium supporters will give him time, and expectations will drop, as long as they see the effort and determination is there. Why couldn’t they do that for Sarri? Well, you’d have to ask them.

His legacy as a Chelsea legend will always be there for me. He’d have to do something pretty major to tarnish that, like deliberately throw a match. I honestly don’t feel his legacy could be tarnished.

Transfer Ban.

Work with what you’ve got. Sarri always said he didn’t need to turn to the transfer market. Which is why I find the claims that the transfer ban is one of the reasons he’s looking to leave, very odd, and probably untrue.

So unless I know the truth there, I can’t comment.

But I do know that Lampard would be a good bet under the transfer ban, because he has the guts to put trust in the younger players as proven at Derby, and he also knows the Chelsea loanees and academy players very well and along with Morris, will be a good judge of talent.

I hear you moan about Chelsea fans always desperate for youth? Well, maybe some are. But this time, we might not have a choice, we might HAVE to integrate them. And I think Lampard is a solid option to do that.

I don’t like any of the other linked names.

Mourinho back? No, not for me. Allegri? Hell no. Nuno? Ok I guess. Gracia? Nah.

Lampard is a club legend and will bring back that vibe.

I’ve been inside the Bridge this season, I’ve witnessed it first hand. It’s eerie, many have fallen out of love with the club and found it a chore to watch. For me, that’s not all on Sarri at all, his style of football is as I said earlier, been great to watch in pockets. But many fans disagree.

But for me, it’s also been a chore at times because whatever we have tried has often not worked, the players look aimless, lack leadership, and lack motivation (as admitted by Sarri).

Lampard will motivate them at the very least. He is a motivator and great man Manager. He is a people person.

Lampard will bring that buzz back around the stadium and get the fans acting like a 12th man again.

Lampard will drive the players and not allow lacklustre performances. Lampard will demand Chelsea type attitudes of never giving up.

Finally, Lampard is a very intelligent man. If he doesn’t think this is right and will fail, he won’t accept it.

Lampard has a ridiculous IQ. Not only has he used that to his advantage tactically, on the training grounds and whilst setting up his team, he will also be wise to any decision he makes.

If Lampard thinks he will fail going to Chelsea now, then he won’t go. He will only go if he has the full belief that he can help the club, get the team performing, and be a relative success (as much as he can be under the circumstances).

I’ll conclude with, this isn’t me saying ‘sack Sarri, get Lamps’! I want Sarri to stay and I’m equally as annoyed with how this is panning out.

But if he is going, Lampard is my first choice, and I genuinely believe I have offered some good reasoning as to why.

Simon Phillips

Advertisements