Chelsea won't abandon youth movement after transfer ban reversal – but are ready to enter market
Frank Lampard insists that Chelsea won't change their identity now that the transfer window is open, stating that he only wants players who will fit into his youth revolution at the club.
Youngsters Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori have all broken through this season, with Chelsea having turned to academy products after a two-window transfer ban was imposed on them by FIFA in February.
The academy graduates have flourished without an influx of new signings but changes could be made in January after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) halved the ban on Friday following an appeal.
However, Chelsea's pivot to promoting their youth players has proved popular with the fan base and Lampard insists that he will continue to encourage their development.
"[Fans] won't lose that feeling for the young players because they're here to stay," Lampard told reporters. "And the young players beneath that, if they train well enough and show enough then they'll get their opportunities too.
"I don't think there's any problem with that. If we're going to try [to make signings] it will be for the improvement of the squad - but if you think we're going to line up Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and sell them, we're not.
"They're here to stay so the fans will be happy that they can keep that relationship and know that anything we do going forward now will be to try and improve from that base.
"[We need to consider] the attitude and personality of people we bring in, because we want people who come in to want to work hard and be successful at the club. So that’s where the balance of it becomes really important to me."
Chelsea have been assessing options behind the scenes for some time and already have an idea of who they like, having pulled in £130 million ($170m) over the summer from player sales, including the £88m ($115m) earned from selling Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.
Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, Leicester City's Ben Chilwell and Genk's Sander Berge are among the players the Blues are eyeing, and Lampard admits his side have taken steps ahead of the ban reduction to get ready for the January market.
"Now that we know, starting from today there will be conversations had,” he said. “We have a scouting department - we have people working on this all the time, whether the ban was here or not.
"It’s not now everyone will just run to their computers and start Googling the best players we can buy! We’re always ready to move forward so it’s part of the big picture. It's the club’s decision, of course.
"As I mentioned before, I have a really good relationship with the owner and with Marina [Granovskaia, transfer director]. I respect that relationship on their side and I respect what Roman Abramovich has done for this club because I’m part of it.
"Without him, I wouldn’t have a lot of the things that I’ve done in the game. I just put forward my case on a working level of what I think will improve us and, hopefully, we’ll make the move from there. But I’m respectful of how the club works.
"Every big team buys. In the competitive nature of the Premier League and where we're at, look at what Manchester United have spent in recent years and Manchester City, and now Tottenham last summer - and Arsenal.
"But at the moment we have managed to utilise a lot of hard work that has gone into the academy over the last 15 or so years and that's great to see that coming through in one go. That's changed our picture slightly but we still want to improve if the opportunities are there."
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