In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Frank Lampard became a club legend at Chelsea during his playing days, and is now held in extremely high regard by the Blues faithful as a manager after beginning his tenure in the hotseat with promise.
The 41-year-old midfielder made 648 appearances for Chelsea during his playing days, scoring 210 goals and assisting a further 150. He is widely regarded as one of the best attacking central midfielders of all-time, and certainly one of – if not the – best the Premier League has ever seen.
The ex-England international did not begin his career at Stamford Bridge, however, and this is where it gets interesting in regard to looking towards what he must do in charge of the Blues now. Obviously, Lampard started as a youth team player at London rivals West Ham United, appearing 166 times for the Hammers between 1995-2001.
His performances for the east Londoners earned him a £14m move to Chelsea 18 years ago, in what would prove to be one of the most influential transfers in the club’s history.
Lampard won pretty much all there is to win in club football with Chelsea, including three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, one Europa League and one Champions League trophy (via Transfermarkt), before moving to Manchester City in 2014 for a brief spell with the Cityzens.
The now 41-year-old also won the Premier League’s Player of the Season award in 2004-05, and regularly managed to score 20+ goals in a season from midfield – no other player in top-flight history has managed to do this as regularly as Lampard did during his career (five seasons in a row).
Still, it wasn’t always like this for the midfielder. Indeed, speaking to the Mirror prior to kicking off his managerial reign in SW6, he spoke of how his mentality changed upon the arrival of a certain Jose Mourinho.
“He brought success to Chelsea, but also for me, personally, because my game went up a few notches,” he said.
“It was mainly about mentality – it was his confidence in me. I was quite within myself when he came, my self-belief wasn’t where it should have been.
“And then in walks this fella with self-belief to burn and to pass on – and he did and I bought into it.
“He was certainly a great man-manager for me and also ahead of the game tactically. He made me think more than maybe I had done before he came.”
Lampard is now manager of his beloved club and has made a good start to life in the Stamford Bridge hot seat. The Blues currently lie fourth in the Premier League table after nine games, while three of the club’s academy graduates – Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori – have been called into the senior England team after impressing for the west Londoners this term; it is all due to Lampard’s trust in youth.
While this is obviously a long-term project considering the number of young players and the recent transfer ban, Lampard does now need to do what Mourinho did for him, just perhaps not as quickly. Mourinho made him a winner, a serial one at that, and that’s exactly what a club like Chelsea demand. Indeed, further into the Lampard era, the club need to win trophies given their stature in the world game and it’s up to Lampard to instil the same kind of belief the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ did to him into his talented young players.
Chelsea is Frank Lampard, and Frank Lampard is Chelsea. His transfer almost two decades ago shook the club more than anyone else has ever done, in the best way possible, and it looks as though their love affair will continue for years to come as the apprentice looks to become the master in west London. If he can help the vast array of youngsters learn to win, the Blues could be onto something special.
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