This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
While Chelsea were met by an influx of returning loanees in the recent transfer window, there is little doubting that their summer was lacking in something – new signings.
Although the club were at least able to make Mateo Kovacic a permanent fixture of the squad following his loan – as well as get their first real look at Christian Pulisic in a blue shirt – the lack of funds spent by Chelsea due to their transfer ban means they missed the opportunity to bolster their squad with the financial muscle they invariably flex every year.
Inevitably, players they would otherwise have bought were blocked from heading to Stamford Bridge in the summer – meaning gaps in the squad’s roster prior to that window were in danger of remaining exposed throughout the current campaign, not least because of Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid.
But as the Belgian’s exit leaves Chelsea’s left-wing vastly under-supplied in terms of out-and-out options, a fruitless approach for Valencia’s Goncalo Guedes (and little movement over Chelsea’s transfer ban appeal) left Callum Hudson-Odoi – only recently back from injury – as the Blues’ only specialist left-winger.
At 22, Guedes may well have fit the profile for a Frank Lampard signing – if his (albeit forced) liking towards younger players in a squad with an average age of 26.2 is anything to go by.
And had the former Blues midfielder been permitted the chance to utilise a hefty transfer kitty as plenty of his predecessors have in the past, an outlay of around £62m on the Portuguese may have been on the cards, as rumoured by Plaza Deportivo back in June.
While Lampard would not join for another few weeks, potential work behind the scenes, as the report suggests, could have supplied the squad with a player in a position lacking in depth, nevertheless. Indeed, amid Christian Pulisic’s struggles in getting into the first-team this season, this looks even more poignant.
And despite Guedes’ age, he would have arrived at Stamford Bridge with considerable pedigree – having been a league winner with Benfica and a Nations League champion with Portugal – scoring the goal that clinched the trophy in front of his home fans.
So with Guedes, who has continued his scoring form for his nation in the recent international break, potentially having something to offer the Chelsea side, perhaps it is a case of what might have been given the Blues’ transfer restraints.
Considering Lampard’s team are in touch with the Champions League chasers in the Premier League, perhaps the missed opportunity for Chelsea transcends purely improving the squad, but also the chance to achieve something of note this season.
Under the limitations in place, in truth, there may be plenty of examples such as Guedes this summer alone – but Chelsea’s efforts to acquire the Portuguese in any case may leave them ruing their transfer ban, whatever happens in Lampard’s first year.
Would Guedes improve this Chelsea team? Where will the club look to strengthen when their ban is lifted? Join the discussion by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!