Frank Lampard is believed to be setting up a feared attack ahead of the 2020/21 Premier League season, but needs to make sure they are determined in the midfield and defense.
According to Sports Central recalled Real Madrid President Florentino Perez confidently claimed after Makele was sold to Chelsea in the summer of 2003, he said: “We will not miss Claude Makelele. “His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and 99 per cent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn’t a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres.
Perez had missed the
point with great sensitivity. Those alleged weaknesses made Makelele so
important to Real Madrid. He did the dirty work that allowed the others to
Zinedine Zidane knew this and joked: "Why would you apply another coat of gold paint on the Bentley if you lost the whole engine?" Real's mistake was without a doubt Chelsea's turn around fortune.
Los Blancos didn’t
win trophy for three years after Makelele's departure. During the same period,
the Blues won the Premier League twice with the Frenchman at the base of their
It is unfathomable that such a mistake is made in the modern game, especially given the growing influence of data analysis.
But history has a
way of repeating itself, rarely for the better. For this reason, Chelsea fans may be concerned about
recent reports that the club is ready to sell N'Golo Kante this summer to fund
deals for Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell.
It has not been an
easy season for the World Cup winner. Injury has limited Kante to just 21
starts in all competitions, by far the least he has managed since arriving from
Leicester City in 2016.
The debate over whether he will be used correctly has also started.
Lampard, like his predecessor Maurizio Sarri, used the Frenchman mainly as a box-to-box midfielder, with Jorginho serving as regista in front of the defense.
However, many believe that Kante is
best used in the "Makelele role", a defensive screen in front of the
back four. Some see his appearances for Leicester City as a reason for this
At the King Power stadium, however, Kante
was part of a midfielder alongside Danny Drinkwater. He was not just sitting in
front of the defense, waiting to cancel the attacks. Instead, he was allowed to
move upfront in order to recover the ball.
He has more responsibility on attack
at Chelsea, but that ability to harass and shut down opponents on the field
continues to be encouraged, and for good reason.
The Blues have a number of talented
midfielders with a range of talents: Mateo Kovacic can dance beyond challenges;
Jorginho is an excellent passer; Ross Barkley is a solid runner and Ruben
Loftus-Cheek can do it all. But when it comes to defensive driving and the
insatiable desire to retrieve the ball and give it to a more extravagant
teammate, Kante is alone.
In the Premier League this season, no
Chelsea player has attempted more defensive actions by 90 (14.85) or won more
defensive duels by 90 (2.46).
kante also commits far more fouls
for 90 than his teammates (2.29), further proof of his tendency to stop attacks
before they start.
It has been encouraging to see that Lampard use him in this role in the last games. The blues boss seemed to reject those reports by proposing not to finance the sale of Kante to welcome the arrival of Havertz et al. Finance.
If Havertz is to join alongside
Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, the blues will have one of the most talented and
exciting attacking units in the Premier League.
However, you will need someone to do the dirty work. Someone who has all selfless knitted together. They have someone on board and it would be almost impossible to replace them.
Seventeen years ago, Chelsea took advantage of myopia. This summer, they have to show that they are much wiser than the president of Real Madrid.