Former Chelsea forward Tony Cascarino believes that Chelsea’s defenders are not good enough to play in Frank Lampard’s system – and has urged the Blues boss to buy big in order to compete with the league’s best.
Cascarino praised Fikayo Tomori, who has broken into the first-team under Lampard this year, though the likes of Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger have left him less than impressed with their on-the-ball performances this season.
In his column for The Times, Cascarino spoke of Chelsea’s need to buy a standout defender in the same vein as Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte.
He said: “If Frank Lampard wants his Chelsea side to play the ball out from the back but still be solid in defence, then he needs to sign a new centre-back.
“Fikayo Tomori is a promising player but Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger are not good enough on the ball to fit his system. Liverpool spent big on Virgil van Dijk, Manchester City signed Aymeric Laporte and Manchester United brought in Harry Maguire.
“Lampard needs to make a similar signing if Chelsea are to compete.”
Chelsea’s recent form has exposed their defensive frailties, with three defeats in their last four Premier League matches and no clean sheets since November’s win over Crystal Palace.
With the Blues’ transfer ban being overturned, their ability to buy in January gives them an opportunity to spend the cash they were prohibited from splashing out in the summer.
While many of their inexperienced youngsters have been integrated into the team as a result, it seems their honeymoon period is over with their top-four place under threat ahead of the weekend’s trip to Tottenham – which could force Lampard’s hand in the winter.
There may be no arguing that Chelsea have the funds to replenish their defence, though WhoScored stats suggest that Zouma and Rudiger remain among Chelsea’s better passers of the ball.
So whether or not Chelsea do indeed require defensive additions, should Lampard bolster his backline in January, it may seem harsh on Chelsea’s existing centre-backs.
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