Chelsea is a football club, not your FIFA team

Chelsea has come under fire for its abundance of quality players over the course of the last few days.

Timo Werner is not officially a Chelsea player yet, but he’s well on his way to becoming one within a matter of days. The Blues have triggered his release clause and are waiting on the paperwork to finish up to make the signing official. That hasn’t stopped many from discussing Chelsea’s formation next season or commenting on what Werner’s likely move means for Tammy Abraham.

Many of the comments centered around the Werner-Abraham debacle have been relatively negative. A lot of talk focuses on the fact the Blues have an abundance of talent with only 11 places in the squad. Chelsea is set to be one of the deepest young teams in Europe, especially after the club finishes its summer splurge. However—at the end of the day—Chelsea is a football club, a business and most importantly, not your FIFA team.

It’s no secret the Blues are going to have trouble finding game time for some incredibly talented players. However, that isn’t as big a problem as the masses make it out to be. In fact, it’s hardly a problem at all. Frank Lampard and his staff have a three-year plan in place to elevate Chelsea to the top of European football. Part of that plan is ridding the squad of dead weight and bringing in young, talented players.

The squad has undergone a youth revolution this season, but Lampard can’t build a whole squad as he’d like in two transfer windows. That being said, every player on the first team roster next season will likely buy in to whatever the gaffer is preaching—even if it means squad rotation. At the end of the day, Lampard’s job is to build a squad and compete for trophies; he needs players of the right mindset to do so.

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Chelsea is not built like a FIFA team. The club is a business and its players aren’t video game characters. Abraham will not hand in a transfer request if he finds himself on the bench for two matches as Werner starts. Callum Hudson-Odoi will not furiously demand a move away if Christian Pulisic or Hakim Ziyech see the pitch as starters more often than not.

The Blues are going to rotate, Lampard is not confined to ‘starting XI’ and ‘second choice’ team sheets, as many have in FIFA’s career mode. Lampard will use multiple different formations and he’ll field dissimilar rotations—and that’s okay. As much fun as it is for fans to speculate what the best XI or preferred rotation is to maximize the squad’s efficiency, it’s purely speculation. The only people who truly know what’s best for Chelsea are Lampard and his managerial staff.

Consequently, squad depth is a wonderful thing. The Blues have options for a crowded fixture list, opportunities to teach younger players and the ability to compete for trophies year in and year out. Bringing in players—like Werner, Ziyech and other linked transfers—is not a dreadful action. Lampard’s purposefully built a team centered around youth and flexibility, one where he looks to get the most out of each player, regardless of their roles.

Every player would ideally love to start week in and week out—unless your name is Danny Drinkwater—but playing for Lampard means acknowledging that may not always be feasible. Such is the case at Liverpool and Manchester City with Xherdan Shaqiri and Riyad Mahrez. If the Blues truly want to elevate themselves to the level of those English giants, they’ll have to find talented players like Shaqiri and Mahrez who are content with success at the expense of rotation.

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The Chelsea board, ownership, players and managerial staff have all bought into Lampard’s vision. Why is it so hard for some fans and pundits to do the same? The Blues are in safe hands with the young English manager. He’s steering Chelsea, a real life football club, in the right direction. It’s about time we all put our faith in Super Frankie Lampard and support every decision he makes, despite how we feel about those calls.

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