Chelsea legend Frank Lampard and ex-Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri are among the favourites to become the new Blues’ boss for next season and fans have been quick to judge both bosses on wether they fit the bill or not. Both have their pros and cons, as with any managerial appointment, but it seems to me that the club must steer clear from hiring Allegri and as a result should probably look to Lampard to lead the side next year.
The systems of these two managers couldn’t be much more different. Max Allegri has built a reputation for being a more pragmatic and systematic manager who uses disciplined and conditioned players to out-perform the opposition with a solid defensive platform as the core of the side. There’s no doubt at all that this style has been a success for his Juventus side who have won five straight Serie-A titles under his management. His football can be, and has been, compared to that of Antonio Conte who managed Chelsea to both the Premier League title and the FA cup in his two years with the club – further evidence that this tactical approach can be successful. Frank Lampard has only had one single season in management with Derby and therefore is yet to have built a recognised ‘philosophy’ however it is clear that he aims to produce more attacking football and will utilise technical players – giving them increased freedom to create chances and move around freely in the attacking third. 4-2-3-1 was a popular choice of formation for Lampard last season, and at times his side would also switch into a 4-3-3. With the players at the club currently many Blues’ fans have made it clear that they’d love to see the team lineup in the 4-2-3-1 system, which would allow N’golo Kantè to return into a position where his responsibilities have more emphasis on defending and ball-winning rather than the Frenchman having more attacking instructions, which he didn’t always look comfortable with last season under Sarri.
While Allegri’s approach can be successful, Chelsea should instead look to develop further what seemed to be a long term plan under Sarri. Roman Abramovich has always wanted his Chelsea team to play great football and the appointment of the former Napoli boss was clearly a move towards trying to create a new identity for the club. With Sarri set to leave for Juve, that hasn’t gone quite to plan however appointing a manager such as Frank Lampard who is still developing his attacking style could see the club’s vision of having an attractive tactical approach continue to be implemented. If the club were to bring in Allegri, they’d effectively be scrapping any of those long-term ambitions they had and as we’ve seen in both the Champions League and Premier League this season – a greater emphasis on attacking and possession is more successful than pragmatism. Ajax are a great example, they play quick attacking football and had an outstanding campaign in the champions league. Chelsea themselves under Maurizio Sarri managed to claim Europa League victory with a possession focused and forward thinking approach. I’m not saying that Max Allegri couldn’t bring success to the club, after all trophies are more important than style, but we are in different era of football and there is more emphasis on attacking the opposition and there’s doubts over how successful Allegri’s approach can be in the long-term.
One thing that Allegri has been rightfully accused of is not giving young players a proper chance in the first team. Young Italy star Moise Kean struggled to breakthrough into the first eleven at Juve this season despite impressive goalscoring. He managed just thirteen appearances in the league and was limited to only just over 500 minutes of action. This stat won’t bode well with Chelsea or their fans who have been calling for years on managers to utilise the club’s impressive youth set-up and the board finally seem to agree with the supporters after pushing Maurizio Sarri to make use of academy stars Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek this season. With a transfer ban looking nailed on for the club, it’s the perfect time for a manager who can properly take advantage of the young prospects on the club’s roster to come into Chelsea – and that man should be Frank Lampard.
His Derby side last season had both Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori on loan from the Blues, both of which nailed themselves on as key players in the Ram’s campaign which saw the club reach the play-off final. The likes of Reece James and Tammy Abraham have also hugely impressed on-loan in the Championship and are known to have caught the eye of the Chelsea hierarchy who want them to become integral members of the first team squad. It is absolutely essential that the club makes use of youth next season, not only due to the transfer ban restricting the club from making improvements but to potentially secure and implement a new spine of players at Chelsea. There’s no doubt that the academy players, along with the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Calum Hudson-Odoi would look up to Frank Lampard due to his status at the club and he’s a manager who would give them the respect they deserve, and give them their chance if they’re truly good enough. It’s worth pointing out that asking the manager to fill the team with youth players is totally unrealistic and probably not productive, however utilising the talent of three or four youngsters in the starting eleven combined with a core of experienced players who can provide leadership and discipline should lead to success both now and in the long term for Chelsea Football Club.
Whoever takes charge of Chelsea next season has an extremely difficult task. A transfer ban, key players injured and huge pressure to continue bringing trophies to Stamford Bridge. Both the club and the fans need to give the new manager time, we cannot expect a perfect transition into a new system under any manager especially if he cannot make signings that suit the tactics or improve the team. Frank Lampard will surely unite fans once again and be given the time that he has earned with his status as a legend of the club. If the club decide Frank’s the man then there HAS to be a long term plan implemented, he’s a young and inexperienced manager but he has already seen success with Derby and can further develop his tactics. If the club are sensible and the fans stay on side then there’s no reason why super Frank can’t be in charge for years and years to come so long as he is backed by the board. If the club finally want stability then Frank Lampard should be the appointment.
I’m of the opinion, as are many fans, that Frank Lampard needs more time to gain experience before he becomes the Chelsea boss. In an ideal world I think he manages Derby for another two or three years and then we make our move, however I think the situation at Chelsea means the club should bite the bullet and appoint the legendary midfielder now. Yes, he needs time to improve but why can’t he have that time at Chelsea? It seems pointless appointing a short term manager now who will effectively just fill in for two years before we inevitably hire Lampard anyway when we could give him the job now and allow him to stamp his style onto this Chelsea side and assess the squad. His appointment may well directly impact the likes of Hudson-Odoi, who we know had doubts over signing a new contract if Sarri was still to be in charge. He is now set to sign a new contract at the club and Lampard will give him all the chances in the world to thrive.
No matter who is hired over the summer to take charge of this fractured Chelsea side then the supporters need to back him. While I do not want Max Allegri as manager, if he is appointed then I will hope that he proves me wrong. Fans who wanted Sarri to remain (which includes me) must not take out their anger for his departure on the next manager and instead we can see this as a fresh start. There has been huge fan divide this season but I’d like to think that next year, especially if Lampard is in charge, then this can change and we can all fly the blue flag together again.
Others names linked to the Chelsea job include Watford’s Javi Gracia, Nuno Espírito Santo of Wolves and former assistant manager Steve Holland. Let us know who you want to take over and why! – @TheChelseaEcho.
Written by Dan Barker | @danbarkzr