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Vesper

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  1. killer1257 liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Willian   
     
  2. kellzfresh liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Kai Havertz   
    Age is the only thing stopping De Bruyne from being, along with Mbappe, the only 2 players worth £200m plus.
    If we are talking pounds, and with a COVID-19 market, I rate Havertz atm at £80-90m.Would love to get him for under £80m, but its not worth cocking the deal up. I am terrified of him at Victimpool or Shitty or Manure or, CL-wise, Bayern, Real, or Barca. PSG, not so much, as they soon will lose either Neymar or Mbappe (within 2 years max, plus Neymar will be 29yo in early February) and Juve is a hot mess atm, as their eggs are all in a soon to be 36 year old basket, and the rest of the team is really old as well, at far too many key positions.
    Victimpool and Shitty are my true nightmares for him to end up at. Plus Bayern from a global perspective. 
  3. Atomiswave liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Super Frank Thread   
    Inside Lampard’s first season
    https://theathletic.com/1980864/2020/08/09/lampard-frank-marina-roman-chelsea/

    The Chelsea players have not seen Frank Lampard like this before. It is December 21, the eve of last season’s first meeting with Tottenham Hotspur and their new head coach is more animated than ever.
    Like at all clubs, holding a meeting before a match to go over tactics and the opposition is part of the routine. But this is no normal game as far as Lampard is concerned, and that means no ordinary team talk.
    Most of the individuals in the room have faced Spurs before, whether in the first team or as academy players and certainly are aware of the intense rivalry between the two London clubs.
    But Lampard, who played in 30 games between Chelsea and Tottenham between 2001-14, still wants to make sure everyone appreciates just how important this is.
    “Frank had given a lot of speeches ahead of previous games, but this was different,” an insider tells The Athletic. “He spoke with so much passion about what the fixture means, especially to the Chelsea fans. This was a contest they had to give their all in, leave nothing to chance, to leave everything out on the pitch. Everyone was inspired, everyone was fired up. They were all talking about it afterwards. And what happened? Chelsea won 2-0 in one of their best performances of the season.”
    This was one of many highs during Lampard’s debut season as Chelsea head coach. Inevitably, there have been several lows too with perhaps the worst saved till last. Losing an FA Cup final to Arsenal and then being knocked out of the Champions League 7-1 on aggregate by Bayern Munich over the past 10 days left a bitter aftertaste and were a reminder of just how much work there is to be done.
    But pre-season predictions from outside the club of how Chelsea would fare were confounded. Despite a transfer ban last summer and the departure of star man Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, Chelsea qualified for next season’s Champions League by finishing fourth in the Premier League.
    It has not been dull, as not everything has run smoothly. This is the story of how Lampard went about his first year in charge at Stamford Bridge.
    Chelsea already had a pretty good idea of the man they were hiring to replace Maurizio Sarri. Former England midfielder Lampard’s intense work ethic and determination to succeed over his 13 trophy-laden seasons as a player for the club hadn’t been forgotten in the five years since he left at the age of 36 for brief spells at Manchester City and in Major League Soccer.
    Several names were considered, Massimiliano Allegri and Laurent Blanc among them, but Lampard quickly became the favourite and his appointment was confirmed on July 4, 2019.
    To get an insight into what drives Lampard the manager, the first thing to take into consideration is that he didn’t need to take the Chelsea job. He had just launched his managerial career with an enjoyable 12 months at Derby County, albeit suffering the disappointment of losing the Championship play-off final, and had two years remaining on his contract there.
    That wasn’t the only thing. One source explains: “Frank was happy at Derby and could have stayed there, but people forget there was no need for him to have gone into management altogether. He was a very successful and respected pundit on television before that.
    “Lampard is a clever man. He is very wealthy, not just from earnings as a player but he has invested in a lot of business ventures. Put it this way, he doesn’t have to work again. He is not in this for the money.
    “What is less known is that another club came in for him last year and offered a very exciting project. But he couldn’t turn Chelsea down. Obviously, the connection was very strong and even though it came early in his coaching career, he didn’t want to run the risk of the opportunity not coming up again. Lampard knew there would be pressure from day one at Chelsea, but he loved it as a player and he loves it as a coach. He thrives on it.”
    Inevitably, his announcement was greeted with plenty of cynicism and criticism, particularly from outside the club’s west London patch. Some felt the 41-year-old with one year in management under his belt only got the job because he was a popular former Chelsea player and that he’d been brought in to keep the fans onside while the club coped for a season without being able to buy players (FIFA’s initial two-window embargo was later reduced to one on appeal). If things went wrong under him, a replacement would easily be found.
    Lampard knew the stakes and wasn’t fazed. As he said at his unveiling in front of Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck: “Coming here 18 years ago (when he was signed from West Ham United) was a challenge. I remember driving home and had the radio on and some people were questioning whether I should be here for £11 million. I worked really hard to put that right as a player and now I am in a position where I have to work really hard to be successful as a manager here.
    “I understand fans want success. My playing career is gone. If I wanted to go away for the rest of my life, look back on my career and protect it, I could have done that. I didn’t want that. I don’t see it as a risk. I am the type of personality that loves challenges, I don’t fear the challenge. I am not fearful of the downside.
    “I feel that hunger to prove myself even more. I felt it as a player and I think there is nothing better in football. Nobody has an easy road as far as I’m concerned. There are always marks or steps in your career when questions are asked of you no matter who you are, and as a player I really liked that.”
    Lampard did not waste any time in making it clear what he wanted his Chelsea to be. On the first day at the Cobham training ground, all the staff (non-playing, as well as any squad members who had reported back by that stage) were summoned for a meeting. A rousing speech intended to get everyone on board was given, stressing how people should be proud to work for Chelsea, that there would be an open-door policy in terms of communication and things would be different from what had gone on before.
    Unlike under Antonio Conte between 2016-18 and his fellow Italian Sarri in 2018-19 to a degree, there would be no strict rules about what was available on the menu at the canteen or to be eaten at home. Of course, a healthy diet was encouraged, but there was no ban on items such as tomato ketchup. People were told they would be treated as grown-ups as far as nutrition was concerned.
    Many of the first-team players had found Sarri difficult to work under. His repetitive training methods bored them. On top of that, there was limited communication and, of course, his smoking. Lampard’s fresh approach was welcomed.
    “Players liked Lampard’s training from the start, and still do,” a source close to a senior player tells The Athletic. “He is always in a good mood, the atmosphere is really good. What they needed after Sarri was a lot of new exercises and new ways to do things. It was stale last season, they always did the same drills.
    “Lampard also brought in a more exciting style of play — to play out from the back. Instead of 20 passes to go up the field, it was trying to cover the same ground in two, three passes and switching the play. I know the players are very happy with him. He is very easy to get a smile from. The players like that. The players relate to him because he has been there as a player himself.”
    Another priority was to use the academy, to make people feel a proper connection between Chelsea’s successful youth set-up and the building where the senior players are housed.
    The appointments of former Chelsea youth coaches Jody Morris, who had also been his assistant at Derby, and Joe Edwards as part of a small first-team backroom staff were an early statement of intent.
    Academy graduates such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Callum Hudson-Odoi had been given game minutes by previous Chelsea managers, but there wasn’t much of a relationship between the junior and older ranks on-site at Cobham. Conte and Sarri didn’t watch the youngsters’ games or training sessions.
    Conversely, Lampard travelled across to specifically talk to academy staff from an early stage, encouraging them to feel part of what he was trying to build. The under-18s were invited to train with the first team for the first time on August 2.
    Whenever academy players are brought over to take part, Lampard makes a point of shaking their hands and ensures they are fully integrated in all the exercises.
    These were the same methods he employed at Derby, where Chelsea rising stars Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were played on a regular basis after signing on loan. The former was so convinced about what Lampard can do having worked under him at Championship level, he agreed a new five-year deal between his appointment and Chelsea’s departure on July 15 for their pre-season tour in Japan.
    From an early stage it was stressed that it didn’t matter who you were or how old — if you trained well, you would be given a chance. This was underlined when Mount and Tammy Abraham started the opening Premier League game at Manchester United, to most pundits’ great surprise.
    During the season’s first international break in September, Lampard shared a few beers with academy manager Neil Bath, his much-respected assistant Jim Fraser and other academy staff members.
    A few days later, Chelsea won 5-2 at Wolves with Tomori, Mount and Abraham (with a hat-trick) scoring the goals. While conducting his post-match duties, Lampard made a point of praising the academy staff he’d been out with earlier in the week. He said: “They’ve worked here for years. They bring players through with a great attitude and desire. When they work for hours and hours with these young players, and invest time, it’s nice for them to see.”
    Youngsters such as Hudson-Odoi, who were expected to leave if Sarri had stayed at the helm for 2019-20, now signed new long-term contracts instead. Eight in total made their professional debuts for Chelsea last season.
    “Frank has been good for the young players, he is easy to talk to and is approachable,” one squad member’s agent explains. “We have not had this with other managers that have been in the building previously. There is a feeling that the door is always open if you need to talk, which is a good thing. It’s kind of been forgotten in all this, but it’s unique for Chelsea to have an English manager and that helps a lot with the communication.”
    As negotiations took place with the hierarchy about the Chelsea job, Lampard made it clear he wanted a small group to form the staff. Along with Morris and Edwards came fitness coach Chris Jones, as well as goalkeeping coach Hilario. Loan-player technical coach Eddie Newton was also promoted.
    Lampard wanted to avoid what had happened under Sarri, whose number of assistants ran into double figures. As an insider says: “He wanted it to be tight-knit, unlike what had happened the season before. Players can view it as too many voices or voices for nothing. Frank thinks it’s better to have a smaller group, for opinions to come from just a few people.”
    The bond is close with Morris, Edwards and Jones most of all — so much so that Newton had the freedom to leave in February for a new challenge managing Trabzonspor, who he led to victory in the Turkish Cup final last month.
    Lampard is not a dictator, allowing his deputies to lead training sessions, although he is the one who takes charge in the days preceding matches and outlines the tactics. On the occasions he does take a back seat, he is still visible. He wears boots and training kit so he can join in the fun if the mood takes him.
    The insider adds: “Just as he did extra bits after training when he was player, Lampard is huge on individual extras. Everyone has a plan, it doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 32. Things are drawn up on what someone can do better and it’s logged, so it could be working on someone’s heading, crossing or getting into areas at the back post to finish.”
    Of the four, Morris is believed to be the most blunt when it comes to giving a rebuke or bad news, but Lampard does not shirk this side of the job either.
    The 42-year-old also set up a WhatsApp group for his coaching quartet to remain in constant contact. The chat is thought to be very busy, especially after a defeat. A post mortem of what went wrong is discussed and planning on how to start fixing things in training. But it has also provided a support network for Lampard and those closest to him. They lean on each other to lift themselves after a negative result.
    The most important relationship any Chelsea manager must have, of course, is with owner Roman Abramovich.
    Lampard is fortunate in this respect in that he already had a good one from his time as a player, when the two men would talk in the dressing room after games and celebrate winning trophies. The Russian multi-billionaire would even seek his opinion about signings — for example, Lampard was asked about Michael Ballack before his fellow midfielder arrived in 2006.
    Due to visa issues, Abramovich is no longer at Stamford Bridge to watch matches like he used to be. While it is thought they met for talks before Lampard accepted the job, contact has been minimal since. But that is not of great significance given Granovskaia has been trusted by Abramovich to run the club anyway and Lampard talks with her on a regular basis. Another form of communication is through technical and performance advisor, and long-time Chelsea team-mate, Petr Cech.
    Ahead of the FA Cup final last weekend, Lampard was asked about whether he had received any positive feedback from Abramovich for his first-year efforts. He replied: “We haven’t been in touch, and there’s nothing in that. I don’t need a phone call, or a message, or recognition like that, because I feel the support from the owner.
    “I have felt it from him from the moment I took the job. I felt it for many years as a player. I am happy if I can make him happy.
    “I have a very close relationship with Marina and Petr. That relationship has been really good. It feels like a real strength that I can speak to Petr regularly. I can speak with Marina and work in a joined-up way. All of that will come through the owner. I don’t need those calls (but) I’ll be there if they are to be had.”
    Lampard’s considered and intelligent demeanour means he can sometimes be underestimated. But this is not someone who should be considered a soft touch. The Chelsea squad quickly got to realise that.
    From the outset, Lampard let it be known he wasn’t afraid to make big decisions. Defender David Luiz was a team-mate when Chelsea won the European Cup final in 2012, but that didn’t save him from being sold last August.
    A poor performance in a 5-3 pre-season win at RB Salzburg led to his downfall. Words were exchanged between the pair after the match and the Brazilian was left out of the following friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach. Luiz was worried about the lack of game time he would get but, living up to the mantra delivered to the squad on day one, Lampard did not assure the centre-back that he would be first choice.
    In an encouraging sign of their new relationship, Chelsea backed Lampard and agreed to sell Luiz to Arsenal for £8 million, less than three months after he’d signed a two-year contract.
    That is not the only big call Lampard has made. The world’s most expensive goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who joined from Athletic Bilbao for £71 million under Sarri two years ago, was dropped in February for poor performances and again for the regular-season finale, FA Cup final and second leg against Bayern.
    Christian Pulisic, a £57 million acquisition from Borussia Dortmund who arrived last summer in a deal done when Sarri was in charge, went nearly two months from the start of September without starting a Premier League game. This was a high-profile purchase and there were a lot of questions from across the Atlantic over why US soccer’s golden boy was being ignored. But Lampard wanted to protect Pulisic, who did not get much of a summer break after helping his country reach the CONCACAF Gold Cup final. There was also a feeling the attacking midfielder needed time to adjust to the pace and physical nature of the Premier League.
    Then there was deciding to start 18-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour rather than Italy international Jorginho in the FA Cup fifth-round tie against title-bound Liverpool. It paid off as the teenager ran the show in a 2-0 Chelsea win.
    That isn’t to say Lampard has got every team selection right. Striker Olivier Giroud finished the season strongly with a run of eight goals in 11 matches yet started just two Premier League games in the season’s first six months — a lack of action which almost caused the France international to leave in January.
    The centre-backs have been chopped and changed as the number in the goals conceded column continued to climb. Lampard’s favoured 4-3-3 formation has been abandoned for three at the back on more than one occasion too, leading some critics to question whether he knew what his best team was.
    “He is not the kind of manager to explain why you’ve been left out,” another source close to a player reveals. “This is football at the highest level. If you’re not playing, there is a reason. He can only pick 11 players. What Lampard wants to see, if you’ve not been playing, is to work hard in training. He bases a lot of his decisions on that.
    “Of course if you’re not playing for a few months you can have a chat, ask things like, ‘What do I have to do better?’ But you just have to work hard in training. Players obviously don’t go to him every time. The players accept it and know they have to work harder.”
    Lampard has confessed he feels the joy of victory and the pain of defeat much more as a manager than when he was just a member of Chelsea’s first XI. Ahead of the FA Cup final loss to Arsenal, he admitted to being “obsessed” with making his team a success and that he spends evenings in front of the work laptop rather than watching Netflix.
    There is still plenty to improve on.
    Despite constantly working on it at the training ground, only French club Amiens conceded from a higher proportion of corners this season in Europe’s top five divisions. Lampard has complained to close friends about “the lack of dressing room leaders” and that there isn’t enough height in the team.
    Supporters have been frustrated that there has been little sign of improvement, and he can be sensitive to any criticism.
    Noticeably, unlike Jose Mourinho, who he played under for two spells at Chelsea, Lampard does not single out individuals in the media, preferring to keep things in-house.
    His approach is appreciated by the players. “He is not like Conte — you knew if you lost games he would rant at you, go hard,” defender Antonio Rudiger tells The Athletic. “The coach is a bit more quiet in the way he says things.
    “The most important thing is that when he gets to that (angry) point — and he does — we are all grown men. Everyone hears what he has to say and can think about what the coach has said. I think he has dealt very well with that pressure and kept us all alive, even if things were going good or bad.
    “For me, first of all, it’s about what he is like as a human being. It’s not just about what titles he has won as a player. But sometimes it helps. He is an open-minded coach and you can ask him about times when he was playing. He knows the pressure, what the people here in this club want to see. He knows about those pressure games, what it’s like to play in finals. That is definitely something that talks for him. That’s good.”
    Rudiger’s rapport with Lampard took longer to build after missing the start of the season with a knee injury and then picking up a groin problem in his comeback match at Wolves, so wasn’t a regular starter until December.
    The Germany international adds: “With me, when I came back from Rome after having surgery, it was difficult, for him as well. He had to prepare for the season and I was out. Of course there was some talking but I couldn’t blame him (for not talking to me too much) because he had to focus more on the team. If you are injured, you are a bit sidelined. That’s normal.
    “I don’t feel like someone always has to come and talk to me. I can’t complain. He has been great to me. It can happen when you are out of the side. I had to fight my way back and, in the end, he decides.”
    One of the worst displays of the season came on the post-lockdown run-in. Chelsea went to Sheffield United and were flattered by the final margin of a 3-0 loss. There were some strong words for the TV cameras from Lampard and many assumed even stronger ones in the dressing room. But they assumed wrong.
    “Frank is a cool, calm character,” a source says. “He doesn’t go horrendously over the top when they do well, nor when they do badly. He tries to keep it in the even keel.
    “For example, after the Sheffield United game, he didn’t say much. He didn’t rant and rave. He just said, ‘We are back in training tomorrow, we have some big games coming up’. It was the right thing to do, because Chelsea had so many games coming thick and fast.”
    In some ways, Lampard sees having to cope with adversity as not necessarily a bad thing, whether for him or the young players whose professional careers are still in their infancy.
    Someone who works closely with him says: “Frank knew what he was getting into when he went there. He knew it was going to be tough. When things aren’t going well, he just reverts to what he’s like – what he’s always been like. Work, work, work on the training ground. Tactical meetings, specific drills for upcoming opponents. Everything’s about preparation.
    “It’s good for them to learn as well. They have to learn it’s not going to be easy. For Tammy and Mason, starting every game, winning every game, it must have seemed so easy. And it’s not. In some ways, for those players’ developments, he might even recognise the odd setback as being beneficial. They’re still learning, even to get to the right level of fitness to cope with it all. But he instils a lot of confidence in them all.
    “The last few years, the environment over there has not been very positive, but he has had a cleansing effect. He’s lifted the whole place. They’re working as a team as well, which they hadn’t been doing. Under Conte and Sarri, there had been groups and cliques. There’s a unity about them more now; they’re all in it together.”
    This was summed up by what happened at the FA Cup final. Chelsea and Arsenal were granted permission to bring another 1o personnel to Wembley to watch the behind-closed-doors game, on top of those included in the matchday squad.
    Lampard made sure their shirt numbers were hanging up in the Chelsea dressing room as well so they could feel part of it. So 17-year-old Lewis Bate, who was an unused substitute in that Sheffield United defeat in July, had the boost of seeing his No 64 jersey on display as well as benefiting from the experience of being at the national stadium for a showpiece occasion.
    Their head coach was a support for the players during the three-and-a-half month break in the season caused by the pandemic. He was in touch regularly and, with his staff, made sure their fitness regimes and motivation levels were being maintained.
    That wasn’t all. “All the players were allowed to go back home, if they weren’t travelling through a busy airport,” a source says. “He has a human side, he is a family man (has a wife and three daughters). He knows what it’s like to be a player, how a player thinks. He knows what buttons to push.”
    Influential midfielder N’Golo Kante was the most nervous to resume training in June due to concerns over COVID-19.
    But the France international was given permission to report back to Cobham whenever he wished and the gesture didn’t go unnoticed. He was soon with the group and started the first match after the restart. It was another sign of Lampard’s style paying off.
    There has been a lot of conjecture over the years as to the extent that a Chelsea manager is involved in the transfer process. The club have always maintained they always get consulted.
    Lampard has shown signs of frustration at times, particularly in January when no signings were made despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling they could do so after halving FIFA’s transfer ban. But just like his players, Lampard didn’t do the blame game in public and there have been no explosive headlines about disputes behind the scenes. A pleasant change.
    Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner were signed in February and June respectively ahead of the 2020-21 season. In both cases, Lampard was a key figure in the process. While Granovskaia concentrated on agreeing the fee, Lampard was the one who sold his Chelsea project to both players, talking to them by phone and messaging them. He explained where they will fit into the team, but also the three-year project the club have in place to become challengers for the Premier League and Champions League titles again. It is believed he has done the same thing with Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and that transfer is likely to be concluded too, once the two sides agree terms.
    Lampard is not afraid to block the signing of a player who has been extensively scouted by the club either. An agent has divulged to The Athletic how one of his clients had been lined up for a move to Stamford Bridge but the transfer never materialised.
    He says: “Chelsea scouts had attended loads of my player’s games and were always messaging me in advance saying they were going to watch him, that they wanted him for the long-term. It had always been driven by their scouting team.
    “You might argue they are the guys who had done the graft and long-term planning but, when it came to the crunch, Frank felt there was a younger player coming through in that position whom he wanted to give a proper chance. That trumped everything else. That’s completely his prerogative, given he’s in charge — it shows his strength of mind, if anything; that he knows what he wants.
    “I’ve taken other players as options to Chelsea and spoken with their scouting department, and they’ve come back with, ‘This is what Frank wants, etc’. A lot of it (the transfer business) at the moment seems to be Lampard, from what I can see.”
    All things considered, 2019-20 will be regarded as a success for Chelsea. A record of 29 wins from 55 games in all competitions, fourth spot in the Premier League, reaching the last 16 of the Champions League and the FA Cup final is a good foundation to build from.
    But Lampard isn’t naive. He knows he will under even more strain when the games begin again next month. Chelsea have won 16 major trophies in 17 years under Abramovich and more silverware will be expected. History shows the price for failure is the sack.
    But as one insider concludes: “There is underlying excitement in what he’s trying to build. I’d be thrilled if I was a Chelsea fan in terms of what he’s trying to do compared to the previous managers. He is trying to do things his way.”
  4. Atomiswave liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Non-Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    COVID-19 cock-blocks Victimpool from cashing in on Salah this summer and taking (not even all of the cash they would get in a normal market from RM or PSG (who would sell Neymar then to Barca) that dosh and buying Sancho. All three of the dippers front 3 really start to lose value after thsi season, as they age out. If they do not sell 1 or two in 2021, they REALLY will lose buying power from the monies gained via sale. They will all be 30yo plus after (or during in Frmino and Manes's cases) the 2021-22 season. That is their catch-22 I have been talking about for months. Having your top players all born within a few months of each other presents serious challenges once they hit the 29yo and up cohort (unless you are RM, or Barca, or Shitty, or PSG and probably Manure). The law of diminishing returns kicks in from a fiscal standpoint.
  5. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Special Juan in Super Frank Thread   
    It's clear the board trust him, and why not the season has been pretty good.
    Get the new signings in and lets go.
  6. Atomiswave liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Super Frank Thread   
    Inside Lampard’s first season
    https://theathletic.com/1980864/2020/08/09/lampard-frank-marina-roman-chelsea/

    The Chelsea players have not seen Frank Lampard like this before. It is December 21, the eve of last season’s first meeting with Tottenham Hotspur and their new head coach is more animated than ever.
    Like at all clubs, holding a meeting before a match to go over tactics and the opposition is part of the routine. But this is no normal game as far as Lampard is concerned, and that means no ordinary team talk.
    Most of the individuals in the room have faced Spurs before, whether in the first team or as academy players and certainly are aware of the intense rivalry between the two London clubs.
    But Lampard, who played in 30 games between Chelsea and Tottenham between 2001-14, still wants to make sure everyone appreciates just how important this is.
    “Frank had given a lot of speeches ahead of previous games, but this was different,” an insider tells The Athletic. “He spoke with so much passion about what the fixture means, especially to the Chelsea fans. This was a contest they had to give their all in, leave nothing to chance, to leave everything out on the pitch. Everyone was inspired, everyone was fired up. They were all talking about it afterwards. And what happened? Chelsea won 2-0 in one of their best performances of the season.”
    This was one of many highs during Lampard’s debut season as Chelsea head coach. Inevitably, there have been several lows too with perhaps the worst saved till last. Losing an FA Cup final to Arsenal and then being knocked out of the Champions League 7-1 on aggregate by Bayern Munich over the past 10 days left a bitter aftertaste and were a reminder of just how much work there is to be done.
    But pre-season predictions from outside the club of how Chelsea would fare were confounded. Despite a transfer ban last summer and the departure of star man Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, Chelsea qualified for next season’s Champions League by finishing fourth in the Premier League.
    It has not been dull, as not everything has run smoothly. This is the story of how Lampard went about his first year in charge at Stamford Bridge.
    Chelsea already had a pretty good idea of the man they were hiring to replace Maurizio Sarri. Former England midfielder Lampard’s intense work ethic and determination to succeed over his 13 trophy-laden seasons as a player for the club hadn’t been forgotten in the five years since he left at the age of 36 for brief spells at Manchester City and in Major League Soccer.
    Several names were considered, Massimiliano Allegri and Laurent Blanc among them, but Lampard quickly became the favourite and his appointment was confirmed on July 4, 2019.
    To get an insight into what drives Lampard the manager, the first thing to take into consideration is that he didn’t need to take the Chelsea job. He had just launched his managerial career with an enjoyable 12 months at Derby County, albeit suffering the disappointment of losing the Championship play-off final, and had two years remaining on his contract there.
    That wasn’t the only thing. One source explains: “Frank was happy at Derby and could have stayed there, but people forget there was no need for him to have gone into management altogether. He was a very successful and respected pundit on television before that.
    “Lampard is a clever man. He is very wealthy, not just from earnings as a player but he has invested in a lot of business ventures. Put it this way, he doesn’t have to work again. He is not in this for the money.
    “What is less known is that another club came in for him last year and offered a very exciting project. But he couldn’t turn Chelsea down. Obviously, the connection was very strong and even though it came early in his coaching career, he didn’t want to run the risk of the opportunity not coming up again. Lampard knew there would be pressure from day one at Chelsea, but he loved it as a player and he loves it as a coach. He thrives on it.”
    Inevitably, his announcement was greeted with plenty of cynicism and criticism, particularly from outside the club’s west London patch. Some felt the 41-year-old with one year in management under his belt only got the job because he was a popular former Chelsea player and that he’d been brought in to keep the fans onside while the club coped for a season without being able to buy players (FIFA’s initial two-window embargo was later reduced to one on appeal). If things went wrong under him, a replacement would easily be found.
    Lampard knew the stakes and wasn’t fazed. As he said at his unveiling in front of Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck: “Coming here 18 years ago (when he was signed from West Ham United) was a challenge. I remember driving home and had the radio on and some people were questioning whether I should be here for £11 million. I worked really hard to put that right as a player and now I am in a position where I have to work really hard to be successful as a manager here.
    “I understand fans want success. My playing career is gone. If I wanted to go away for the rest of my life, look back on my career and protect it, I could have done that. I didn’t want that. I don’t see it as a risk. I am the type of personality that loves challenges, I don’t fear the challenge. I am not fearful of the downside.
    “I feel that hunger to prove myself even more. I felt it as a player and I think there is nothing better in football. Nobody has an easy road as far as I’m concerned. There are always marks or steps in your career when questions are asked of you no matter who you are, and as a player I really liked that.”
    Lampard did not waste any time in making it clear what he wanted his Chelsea to be. On the first day at the Cobham training ground, all the staff (non-playing, as well as any squad members who had reported back by that stage) were summoned for a meeting. A rousing speech intended to get everyone on board was given, stressing how people should be proud to work for Chelsea, that there would be an open-door policy in terms of communication and things would be different from what had gone on before.
    Unlike under Antonio Conte between 2016-18 and his fellow Italian Sarri in 2018-19 to a degree, there would be no strict rules about what was available on the menu at the canteen or to be eaten at home. Of course, a healthy diet was encouraged, but there was no ban on items such as tomato ketchup. People were told they would be treated as grown-ups as far as nutrition was concerned.
    Many of the first-team players had found Sarri difficult to work under. His repetitive training methods bored them. On top of that, there was limited communication and, of course, his smoking. Lampard’s fresh approach was welcomed.
    “Players liked Lampard’s training from the start, and still do,” a source close to a senior player tells The Athletic. “He is always in a good mood, the atmosphere is really good. What they needed after Sarri was a lot of new exercises and new ways to do things. It was stale last season, they always did the same drills.
    “Lampard also brought in a more exciting style of play — to play out from the back. Instead of 20 passes to go up the field, it was trying to cover the same ground in two, three passes and switching the play. I know the players are very happy with him. He is very easy to get a smile from. The players like that. The players relate to him because he has been there as a player himself.”
    Another priority was to use the academy, to make people feel a proper connection between Chelsea’s successful youth set-up and the building where the senior players are housed.
    The appointments of former Chelsea youth coaches Jody Morris, who had also been his assistant at Derby, and Joe Edwards as part of a small first-team backroom staff were an early statement of intent.
    Academy graduates such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Callum Hudson-Odoi had been given game minutes by previous Chelsea managers, but there wasn’t much of a relationship between the junior and older ranks on-site at Cobham. Conte and Sarri didn’t watch the youngsters’ games or training sessions.
    Conversely, Lampard travelled across to specifically talk to academy staff from an early stage, encouraging them to feel part of what he was trying to build. The under-18s were invited to train with the first team for the first time on August 2.
    Whenever academy players are brought over to take part, Lampard makes a point of shaking their hands and ensures they are fully integrated in all the exercises.
    These were the same methods he employed at Derby, where Chelsea rising stars Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were played on a regular basis after signing on loan. The former was so convinced about what Lampard can do having worked under him at Championship level, he agreed a new five-year deal between his appointment and Chelsea’s departure on July 15 for their pre-season tour in Japan.
    From an early stage it was stressed that it didn’t matter who you were or how old — if you trained well, you would be given a chance. This was underlined when Mount and Tammy Abraham started the opening Premier League game at Manchester United, to most pundits’ great surprise.
    During the season’s first international break in September, Lampard shared a few beers with academy manager Neil Bath, his much-respected assistant Jim Fraser and other academy staff members.
    A few days later, Chelsea won 5-2 at Wolves with Tomori, Mount and Abraham (with a hat-trick) scoring the goals. While conducting his post-match duties, Lampard made a point of praising the academy staff he’d been out with earlier in the week. He said: “They’ve worked here for years. They bring players through with a great attitude and desire. When they work for hours and hours with these young players, and invest time, it’s nice for them to see.”
    Youngsters such as Hudson-Odoi, who were expected to leave if Sarri had stayed at the helm for 2019-20, now signed new long-term contracts instead. Eight in total made their professional debuts for Chelsea last season.
    “Frank has been good for the young players, he is easy to talk to and is approachable,” one squad member’s agent explains. “We have not had this with other managers that have been in the building previously. There is a feeling that the door is always open if you need to talk, which is a good thing. It’s kind of been forgotten in all this, but it’s unique for Chelsea to have an English manager and that helps a lot with the communication.”
    As negotiations took place with the hierarchy about the Chelsea job, Lampard made it clear he wanted a small group to form the staff. Along with Morris and Edwards came fitness coach Chris Jones, as well as goalkeeping coach Hilario. Loan-player technical coach Eddie Newton was also promoted.
    Lampard wanted to avoid what had happened under Sarri, whose number of assistants ran into double figures. As an insider says: “He wanted it to be tight-knit, unlike what had happened the season before. Players can view it as too many voices or voices for nothing. Frank thinks it’s better to have a smaller group, for opinions to come from just a few people.”
    The bond is close with Morris, Edwards and Jones most of all — so much so that Newton had the freedom to leave in February for a new challenge managing Trabzonspor, who he led to victory in the Turkish Cup final last month.
    Lampard is not a dictator, allowing his deputies to lead training sessions, although he is the one who takes charge in the days preceding matches and outlines the tactics. On the occasions he does take a back seat, he is still visible. He wears boots and training kit so he can join in the fun if the mood takes him.
    The insider adds: “Just as he did extra bits after training when he was player, Lampard is huge on individual extras. Everyone has a plan, it doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 32. Things are drawn up on what someone can do better and it’s logged, so it could be working on someone’s heading, crossing or getting into areas at the back post to finish.”
    Of the four, Morris is believed to be the most blunt when it comes to giving a rebuke or bad news, but Lampard does not shirk this side of the job either.
    The 42-year-old also set up a WhatsApp group for his coaching quartet to remain in constant contact. The chat is thought to be very busy, especially after a defeat. A post mortem of what went wrong is discussed and planning on how to start fixing things in training. But it has also provided a support network for Lampard and those closest to him. They lean on each other to lift themselves after a negative result.
    The most important relationship any Chelsea manager must have, of course, is with owner Roman Abramovich.
    Lampard is fortunate in this respect in that he already had a good one from his time as a player, when the two men would talk in the dressing room after games and celebrate winning trophies. The Russian multi-billionaire would even seek his opinion about signings — for example, Lampard was asked about Michael Ballack before his fellow midfielder arrived in 2006.
    Due to visa issues, Abramovich is no longer at Stamford Bridge to watch matches like he used to be. While it is thought they met for talks before Lampard accepted the job, contact has been minimal since. But that is not of great significance given Granovskaia has been trusted by Abramovich to run the club anyway and Lampard talks with her on a regular basis. Another form of communication is through technical and performance advisor, and long-time Chelsea team-mate, Petr Cech.
    Ahead of the FA Cup final last weekend, Lampard was asked about whether he had received any positive feedback from Abramovich for his first-year efforts. He replied: “We haven’t been in touch, and there’s nothing in that. I don’t need a phone call, or a message, or recognition like that, because I feel the support from the owner.
    “I have felt it from him from the moment I took the job. I felt it for many years as a player. I am happy if I can make him happy.
    “I have a very close relationship with Marina and Petr. That relationship has been really good. It feels like a real strength that I can speak to Petr regularly. I can speak with Marina and work in a joined-up way. All of that will come through the owner. I don’t need those calls (but) I’ll be there if they are to be had.”
    Lampard’s considered and intelligent demeanour means he can sometimes be underestimated. But this is not someone who should be considered a soft touch. The Chelsea squad quickly got to realise that.
    From the outset, Lampard let it be known he wasn’t afraid to make big decisions. Defender David Luiz was a team-mate when Chelsea won the European Cup final in 2012, but that didn’t save him from being sold last August.
    A poor performance in a 5-3 pre-season win at RB Salzburg led to his downfall. Words were exchanged between the pair after the match and the Brazilian was left out of the following friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach. Luiz was worried about the lack of game time he would get but, living up to the mantra delivered to the squad on day one, Lampard did not assure the centre-back that he would be first choice.
    In an encouraging sign of their new relationship, Chelsea backed Lampard and agreed to sell Luiz to Arsenal for £8 million, less than three months after he’d signed a two-year contract.
    That is not the only big call Lampard has made. The world’s most expensive goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who joined from Athletic Bilbao for £71 million under Sarri two years ago, was dropped in February for poor performances and again for the regular-season finale, FA Cup final and second leg against Bayern.
    Christian Pulisic, a £57 million acquisition from Borussia Dortmund who arrived last summer in a deal done when Sarri was in charge, went nearly two months from the start of September without starting a Premier League game. This was a high-profile purchase and there were a lot of questions from across the Atlantic over why US soccer’s golden boy was being ignored. But Lampard wanted to protect Pulisic, who did not get much of a summer break after helping his country reach the CONCACAF Gold Cup final. There was also a feeling the attacking midfielder needed time to adjust to the pace and physical nature of the Premier League.
    Then there was deciding to start 18-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour rather than Italy international Jorginho in the FA Cup fifth-round tie against title-bound Liverpool. It paid off as the teenager ran the show in a 2-0 Chelsea win.
    That isn’t to say Lampard has got every team selection right. Striker Olivier Giroud finished the season strongly with a run of eight goals in 11 matches yet started just two Premier League games in the season’s first six months — a lack of action which almost caused the France international to leave in January.
    The centre-backs have been chopped and changed as the number in the goals conceded column continued to climb. Lampard’s favoured 4-3-3 formation has been abandoned for three at the back on more than one occasion too, leading some critics to question whether he knew what his best team was.
    “He is not the kind of manager to explain why you’ve been left out,” another source close to a player reveals. “This is football at the highest level. If you’re not playing, there is a reason. He can only pick 11 players. What Lampard wants to see, if you’ve not been playing, is to work hard in training. He bases a lot of his decisions on that.
    “Of course if you’re not playing for a few months you can have a chat, ask things like, ‘What do I have to do better?’ But you just have to work hard in training. Players obviously don’t go to him every time. The players accept it and know they have to work harder.”
    Lampard has confessed he feels the joy of victory and the pain of defeat much more as a manager than when he was just a member of Chelsea’s first XI. Ahead of the FA Cup final loss to Arsenal, he admitted to being “obsessed” with making his team a success and that he spends evenings in front of the work laptop rather than watching Netflix.
    There is still plenty to improve on.
    Despite constantly working on it at the training ground, only French club Amiens conceded from a higher proportion of corners this season in Europe’s top five divisions. Lampard has complained to close friends about “the lack of dressing room leaders” and that there isn’t enough height in the team.
    Supporters have been frustrated that there has been little sign of improvement, and he can be sensitive to any criticism.
    Noticeably, unlike Jose Mourinho, who he played under for two spells at Chelsea, Lampard does not single out individuals in the media, preferring to keep things in-house.
    His approach is appreciated by the players. “He is not like Conte — you knew if you lost games he would rant at you, go hard,” defender Antonio Rudiger tells The Athletic. “The coach is a bit more quiet in the way he says things.
    “The most important thing is that when he gets to that (angry) point — and he does — we are all grown men. Everyone hears what he has to say and can think about what the coach has said. I think he has dealt very well with that pressure and kept us all alive, even if things were going good or bad.
    “For me, first of all, it’s about what he is like as a human being. It’s not just about what titles he has won as a player. But sometimes it helps. He is an open-minded coach and you can ask him about times when he was playing. He knows the pressure, what the people here in this club want to see. He knows about those pressure games, what it’s like to play in finals. That is definitely something that talks for him. That’s good.”
    Rudiger’s rapport with Lampard took longer to build after missing the start of the season with a knee injury and then picking up a groin problem in his comeback match at Wolves, so wasn’t a regular starter until December.
    The Germany international adds: “With me, when I came back from Rome after having surgery, it was difficult, for him as well. He had to prepare for the season and I was out. Of course there was some talking but I couldn’t blame him (for not talking to me too much) because he had to focus more on the team. If you are injured, you are a bit sidelined. That’s normal.
    “I don’t feel like someone always has to come and talk to me. I can’t complain. He has been great to me. It can happen when you are out of the side. I had to fight my way back and, in the end, he decides.”
    One of the worst displays of the season came on the post-lockdown run-in. Chelsea went to Sheffield United and were flattered by the final margin of a 3-0 loss. There were some strong words for the TV cameras from Lampard and many assumed even stronger ones in the dressing room. But they assumed wrong.
    “Frank is a cool, calm character,” a source says. “He doesn’t go horrendously over the top when they do well, nor when they do badly. He tries to keep it in the even keel.
    “For example, after the Sheffield United game, he didn’t say much. He didn’t rant and rave. He just said, ‘We are back in training tomorrow, we have some big games coming up’. It was the right thing to do, because Chelsea had so many games coming thick and fast.”
    In some ways, Lampard sees having to cope with adversity as not necessarily a bad thing, whether for him or the young players whose professional careers are still in their infancy.
    Someone who works closely with him says: “Frank knew what he was getting into when he went there. He knew it was going to be tough. When things aren’t going well, he just reverts to what he’s like – what he’s always been like. Work, work, work on the training ground. Tactical meetings, specific drills for upcoming opponents. Everything’s about preparation.
    “It’s good for them to learn as well. They have to learn it’s not going to be easy. For Tammy and Mason, starting every game, winning every game, it must have seemed so easy. And it’s not. In some ways, for those players’ developments, he might even recognise the odd setback as being beneficial. They’re still learning, even to get to the right level of fitness to cope with it all. But he instils a lot of confidence in them all.
    “The last few years, the environment over there has not been very positive, but he has had a cleansing effect. He’s lifted the whole place. They’re working as a team as well, which they hadn’t been doing. Under Conte and Sarri, there had been groups and cliques. There’s a unity about them more now; they’re all in it together.”
    This was summed up by what happened at the FA Cup final. Chelsea and Arsenal were granted permission to bring another 1o personnel to Wembley to watch the behind-closed-doors game, on top of those included in the matchday squad.
    Lampard made sure their shirt numbers were hanging up in the Chelsea dressing room as well so they could feel part of it. So 17-year-old Lewis Bate, who was an unused substitute in that Sheffield United defeat in July, had the boost of seeing his No 64 jersey on display as well as benefiting from the experience of being at the national stadium for a showpiece occasion.
    Their head coach was a support for the players during the three-and-a-half month break in the season caused by the pandemic. He was in touch regularly and, with his staff, made sure their fitness regimes and motivation levels were being maintained.
    That wasn’t all. “All the players were allowed to go back home, if they weren’t travelling through a busy airport,” a source says. “He has a human side, he is a family man (has a wife and three daughters). He knows what it’s like to be a player, how a player thinks. He knows what buttons to push.”
    Influential midfielder N’Golo Kante was the most nervous to resume training in June due to concerns over COVID-19.
    But the France international was given permission to report back to Cobham whenever he wished and the gesture didn’t go unnoticed. He was soon with the group and started the first match after the restart. It was another sign of Lampard’s style paying off.
    There has been a lot of conjecture over the years as to the extent that a Chelsea manager is involved in the transfer process. The club have always maintained they always get consulted.
    Lampard has shown signs of frustration at times, particularly in January when no signings were made despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling they could do so after halving FIFA’s transfer ban. But just like his players, Lampard didn’t do the blame game in public and there have been no explosive headlines about disputes behind the scenes. A pleasant change.
    Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner were signed in February and June respectively ahead of the 2020-21 season. In both cases, Lampard was a key figure in the process. While Granovskaia concentrated on agreeing the fee, Lampard was the one who sold his Chelsea project to both players, talking to them by phone and messaging them. He explained where they will fit into the team, but also the three-year project the club have in place to become challengers for the Premier League and Champions League titles again. It is believed he has done the same thing with Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and that transfer is likely to be concluded too, once the two sides agree terms.
    Lampard is not afraid to block the signing of a player who has been extensively scouted by the club either. An agent has divulged to The Athletic how one of his clients had been lined up for a move to Stamford Bridge but the transfer never materialised.
    He says: “Chelsea scouts had attended loads of my player’s games and were always messaging me in advance saying they were going to watch him, that they wanted him for the long-term. It had always been driven by their scouting team.
    “You might argue they are the guys who had done the graft and long-term planning but, when it came to the crunch, Frank felt there was a younger player coming through in that position whom he wanted to give a proper chance. That trumped everything else. That’s completely his prerogative, given he’s in charge — it shows his strength of mind, if anything; that he knows what he wants.
    “I’ve taken other players as options to Chelsea and spoken with their scouting department, and they’ve come back with, ‘This is what Frank wants, etc’. A lot of it (the transfer business) at the moment seems to be Lampard, from what I can see.”
    All things considered, 2019-20 will be regarded as a success for Chelsea. A record of 29 wins from 55 games in all competitions, fourth spot in the Premier League, reaching the last 16 of the Champions League and the FA Cup final is a good foundation to build from.
    But Lampard isn’t naive. He knows he will under even more strain when the games begin again next month. Chelsea have won 16 major trophies in 17 years under Abramovich and more silverware will be expected. History shows the price for failure is the sack.
    But as one insider concludes: “There is underlying excitement in what he’s trying to build. I’d be thrilled if I was a Chelsea fan in terms of what he’s trying to do compared to the previous managers. He is trying to do things his way.”
  7. Vesper liked a post in a topic by killer1257 in Willian   
    He was perfect for the barcelona system because he was so direct and effective, while Iniesta and Xavi are not direct and are always looking for the next pass. That is why Pedro was so amazing. Amazing finisher with both foot

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  8. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Special Juan in Willian   
    He is Arsenal's problem, we have so many better players than him he won't be missed.
  9. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Atomiswave in Willian   
    Yeah you can never know can you, if he did such a thing then he must have had FL's blessings. I wish him the best but not all the best of course now that he is a gooner.
  10. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Artandur in Non-Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    Everybody is saying the same thing. They extended last year.
  11. kellzfresh liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Kai Havertz   
    Age is the only thing stopping De Bruyne from being, along with Mbappe, the only 2 players worth £200m plus.
    If we are talking pounds, and with a COVID-19 market, I rate Havertz atm at £80-90m.Would love to get him for under £80m, but its not worth cocking the deal up. I am terrified of him at Victimpool or Shitty or Manure or, CL-wise, Bayern, Real, or Barca. PSG, not so much, as they soon will lose either Neymar or Mbappe (within 2 years max, plus Neymar will be 29yo in early February) and Juve is a hot mess atm, as their eggs are all in a soon to be 36 year old basket, and the rest of the team is really old as well, at far too many key positions.
    Victimpool and Shitty are my true nightmares for him to end up at. Plus Bayern from a global perspective. 
  12. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Special Juan in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    Looking forward to watching inter beat Leverkusen later.
  13. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Iggy Doonican in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    I never pay much attention to any of those sites to be honest. I hate Talk Sport I was in my mate's car the other day Simon Jordan has his own show talk about someone who likes the sound of his own voice fucking hell. The weird thing is Danny Kelly who is a journalist and knows his stuff is playing second fiddle to that twat who in essence is a failed businessman mind you so is Trump.
  14. Atomiswave liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Willian   
    It looks really suspicious. I have no concrete proof, but I truly think he did. He is all about the payday and look at what happened to Pedro. I think he downed tools to avoid the chance.
    I hope my intuition is wrong.
  15. Muzchap liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    Marc Cucurella rumours will not go away (as our left back). I cannot stress enough that he is not even a true LB, he is a LMF/winger type. He only played 2 games all season at LB, and is not up to playing there in the EPL for a truly top team.
  16. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Muzchap in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    Rumours are pissing me off.
    Why can't we link all our shit players to multiple clubs. I mean it's claimed Russia influenced Trump election and Brexit- why aren't the fuckers using this tech to offload our deadwood
  17. Muzchap liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    Marc Cucurella rumours will not go away (as our left back). I cannot stress enough that he is not even a true LB, he is a LMF/winger type. He only played 2 games all season at LB, and is not up to playing there in the EPL for a truly top team.
  18. Muzchap liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    We have so many white elephants. Staggering.
  19. Muzchap liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    Pirlo might prise Tonali away from Inter, which would make Conte even more likely to leave. 
  20. Muzchap liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    One if the worst footie sites on the net is called Transfer Tavern.
    https://www.footballtransfertavern.com/
  21. Vesper liked a post in a topic by milka in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
     
  22. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Supermonkey92 in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    You know if we add RAJKOVIC and Havertz to Werner and Ziyech im already fucking pumped.

    Rice on top and I have remined myself to enjoy this transfer window as I doubt we'll top it for the foreseeable future.


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  23. Vesper liked a post in a topic by Pizy in Chelsea Transfer Pub   
    Player sales will have to fund much of it. Werner, Ziyech, and Havertz is mostly funded by the Hazard, Morata, and Pasalic sales. If we can get some suckers to take Emerson, Bakayoko, Batshuayi, and Barkley off our hands that's another nice chunk of change. Plus, Willian and Pedro were on sizeable wages which are now off our books.
    And that's not even taking into account the budget that is already set aside for transfers.
  24. Atomiswave liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Willian   
    We should have sold him for the £65m back in summer 2018. massive cock-up, but I am not going to kick him in the batty on the way out the door. I so hope he doesn't fuck us up v Arse.
    He was not a bad player at all, and I think many of his contributions were not appreciated nearly enough. That said, he was a poison pill at times and I am enraged he faked injury to avoid playing in the FA Cup final v those goona cunts.
    That game, The Taylor Final, is added to my 10 most bitter disappoints ever at Chels in terms of Roman era-games. I REALLLLLLLLLY hate losing trophy games. Hate it!!!! Not acceptable. Do not care if it is EL or CL or a CS, FWCC or or Super Cup, League Cup or FA Cup, it fucking pisses me off.