There’s a ton of BS generated by the wide world of football media every single day, most of which gets amplified well beyond reasonable levels by social media, and wading through all that can be challenging — especially on the rare occasions when something silly actually proves to have something tangible behind it.
Case in point, the Antonio Rüdiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi exit stories, which sprung to life last weekend and got a solid booster shot on Sunday by neither playing against Liverpool, the former not even making the matchday squad.
It’s a long season with a ton of games, so there will be opportunities, right?
“I’m going to skirt around that question. We’re not in a period where the transfer window is acting like it has done in recent years. The competitive games have just started. I’m very open to those conversations with the players as the next couple of weeks go on.
“My priority will be making sure I maintain the strongest squad I can but after that the individual conversations will happen. I will try and make sure I go into the season once the window shuts with the squad I feel is competitive in a healthy way.”
If that’s Lampard “skirting” around the question of Rüdiger and Hudson-Odoi, does a straight up answer include a boot up the behind and a one-way ticket out of town?
Perhaps we’re reading too much between the lines?
“There are decisions for me to take, for the club to make and for the players themselves to make. I have an idea of the number I want to make the squad have healthy competition but not to have so many players not competing regularly and feeling like they’re out of squads and not getting the minutes they want.”
Normally, a game like today’s against Barnsley in the League Cup would be a prime opportunity for the kids, the backups, and the lesser lights to shine, but Lampard has already made it clear that he primarily wants to use the occasion for first-team conditioning.
And the challenge issued for Hudson-Odoi isn’t to show his wares on the pitch, but rather to win his spot in training — even though he’s literally the only actual winger fit in the squad!
“We have Christian Pulisic injured, Hakim Ziyech injured. We played Timo Werner out wide the other day, but the absolute natural winger who is fit is Callum. We need competition in those areas and players competing to make that position their own.
“That’s where Callum is at and why I keep saying he needs to show in training every day and when he gets his opportunity in games, which he will have against Barnsley. He has to show in every minute, on and off the ball, what he can do for the team. He’s had an early breakthrough in his career because of his talent, he’s had an injury and I want to see him flourish again.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Guardian
Chelsea obviously have a large squad, which means that players will have to leave — either for good or on loan (the latter more likely thanks to current economic conditions) — or be content with not playing a lot, if at all. A similar situation might have worked out fortuitously for Olivier Giroud last season, but he’s the exception to the rule.
With two weeks to go in the transfer window, we just might be in for a surprising name or two heading out the exit door.