With the transfer window still open, Chelsea’s Frank Lampard is not done trimming his squad. Tiemoue Bakayoko and Davide Zappacosta are on the outs.
Following the closing of the English transfer window, Frank Lampard very much knows his squad. But the window is only currently closed in England; it remains open in the rest of Europe. And while Lampard may be done sending out players at home, he still has a few to send abroad. Nothing is settled till the window closes but Lampard seems to have come to a conclusion on Tiemoue Bakayoko and Davide Zappacosta.
Both players were briefly part of the preseason set up. But since returning from Japan, Lampard appears to have mostly written them off. Bakayoko has not been with the squad since Japan and has been linked with a return to Monaco. Zappacosta has not been present since the preseason ended, and is now in Rome.
While Lampard gave both a shot, he decided to go with younger alternatives.
Bakayoko was seemingly poised to have a Chelsea comeback this season after a mostly successful loan at AC Milan. But he struggled in his early preseason appearances. On paper in a 4-2-3-1, he is the fourth choice midfielder for the pivot. Billy Gilmour appears to have been the one to push him out most directly but Lampard’s willingness to use other formations and shift players around likely played a part as well.
Zappacosta looked to have been in a The Tortoise and the Hare style race with Reece James. If James found fitness before the window closed, then Zappacosta would be out. If James did not find his fitness in time, Zappacosta could have been on till January. But with James’ recovery going well, September creeping ever closer and Zappacosta not making up ground on the squad, he became the latest Premier League cast-off to land in Italy.
Those two may not be the only ones with shaky ground beneath their feet. Though Lampard wants to keep Michy Batshuayi around so he can have three strikers, the striker himself may not be too willing if he does not see opportunities before the window closes.
Kenedy has been sticking around and playing a part but he might also be in the search of something more consistent.
Lampard appears to be content with a smaller corps of older players with young and hungry players filling in the ranks after that. Of course, that was a major part of why he was hired and he is delivering on it. And it is not as though these players were never given a shot; they just simply did not meet the criteria to stay that Lampard was looking for.
Lampard will need a squad of a certain size to get through all the competitions Chelsea is in but he appears to trust the group he has on hand right now. The players that are not in that group, will surely be on the move before the window closes.
Lampard is trimming the squad down into what he wants and when the Blues can buy again, he will have plenty of room to fill in gaps.