Jose Mourinho has given Frank Lampard a few pointers on how to handle Chelsea’s transfer crisis ahead of his debut campaign in charge of the club.
While many view Chelsea’s decision to name Lampard manager as destiny, the timing of his arrival couldn’t be worse. Aside from just a year of coaching experience under his belt, the 41-year-old can’t sign a new player until after next January.
This comes following FIFA’s decision to hand Chelsea a two-transfer window ban for breaching rules over signing under-18 players.
The Blues have, though, still welcomed Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund after agreeing on a €64m deal in January. They’ve also signed Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid on a permanent deal after an impressive loan spell.
But FIFA’s ban prevents Lampard from seeking replacements for the departed Eden Hazard, Gonzalo Higuain and Gary Cahill.
However, Mourinho pointed out that his old Chelsea star can count on talented youngsters like Kurt Zouma and Tammy Abraham to help soften the blow.
“I think every manager in the world loves to play kids from the academy,” the ex-Blues boss told Sky Sports.
“The question is: what is the product from the academy? What can you work with to improve?
“I think Chelsea is a very special club in relation to that. I just give an example: Chelsea needs a centre-back – Kurt Zouma! You need not buy, you need not spend. Zouma!
“He’s champion of England, he played for Chelsea, played for Stoke [City] in the Premier League, played for Everton in the Premier League, played for France.
“He’s your player, he’s on loan, where are you going to buy a better player than him? You already have him.
“You want a young striker – Tammy Abraham! He’s yours. He knows the club. He was made at the club, he was educated at the club.
“He was on loan, he played already some matches in the Premier League, he plays in the Championship but Championship at the highest level with the responsibility to play at a big club like Aston Villa. He’s ready.
“Do you need to buy a young centre forward? No! And Chelsea were criticised many times with the number of players they had on loan, more than 30 players, 40 players, but now the moment arrived and they have answers like nobody else could have.
“The only problem for them is obvious which is that they lost a phenomenal player. Eden Hazard was a special player for Chelsea and they lost him, apart from that I don’t see any problem for them.”
Mourinho, who won three Premier League and EFL Cup titles at Chelsea, also backed Lampard to become a success story at Stamford Bridge.
“You know, time will see,” said the Portuguese coach.
“Only time. It would be nice and easy for me to say, because I love him, that he’s going to be a phenomenal manager.
“It would be very nice for me to say, but I’m not going to say that, and I cannot also say I don’t believe he’s going to do it, because that’s not the way I feel.
“I feel that he has potential, I feel that he loves, which is a very important thing, he loves – that’s the reason why he is there – and I wish him the best but only time can speak and in a few years we will see.
“What I always saw in Frank was an example of a professional. I was lucky to have so many untouchables, but he was one of the untouchable players I had in my career. A tremendous professional. Tremendous.”