Could Mason Mount Push His Way into Lampard's Midfield Plans?

The stars could not have aligned more perfectly for Chelsea youngster Mason Mount over the past couple of months. First the Blues were ...

The stars could not have aligned more perfectly for Chelsea youngster Mason Mount over the past couple of months. First the Blues were unable to overturn a two-window transfer ban imposed as punishment for breaching regulations when signing under-18s. The irony is that this ruling has given Chelsea’s youngsters a greater opportunity to seize a first team place than they could ever previously have dreamed of. Then the club installed former midfielder Frank Lampard as manager, a decision that would have left Mount rubbing his hands.
Lampard made his first foray into management at Derby County last season and the first thing he did was sign Mount on loan. The youngster became a key figure during the Rams’ promotion bid, banging in 11 goals in 44 games and dazzling with his composure on the ball. His form was so good that he earned a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s full England squad, and Lampard is clearly a huge admirer of his talents.
Now he is back at Stamford Bridge and he has just been handed a five-year deal worth around £75,000 a week. “I joined this club at six years old and it was always my goal to play for the first team one day,” he told the club website after signing on the dotted line. “I’m really looking forward to the coming season now and working hard to have an impact here at Chelsea. I’ve been at the club for a long time already and hopefully I’ll stay for a long time to come.”

The 20-year-old should be given plenty of opportunities to show what he is capable of next season. Eden Hazard contributed 16 goals and 15 assists in 37 Premier League games last season and he will be a huge miss after his move to Real Madrid. There is no single player at the club that can fill the void, and Lampard will demand a collective effort to ensure Chelsea remain prolific in front of goal in 2019/20.
Willian and Pedro have been reliable servants over the past few years, but you could argue that they are past their respective peaks. Olivier Giroud provides strong hold-up play, but he is not a prolific goalscorer. Gonzalo Higuain will not return and Alvaro Morata has joined Atletico Madrid on a permanent basis. Lampard will have to place a great deal of faith in youth if Chelsea are to have a strong season going forwards.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is a hugely important player for the team, and the new manager will be desperate to fend off interest from Bayern Munich. He is currently injured, but he is expected to return to contention during September or October. Tammy Abraham is back from a loan spell at Aston Villa and he is sure to be given a chance to lead the line, while Michy Batshuayi can also expect to be welcomed back into the fold.
Chelsea managed to sign Christian Pulisic before the transfer ban was imposed, so the exciting young American should slot straight into the first team. Yet there will be a temptation to play him out wide, meaning Mount could well make the number 10 role his own.
Lampard is unlikely to follow in Maurizio Sarri’s footsteps by playing N’Golo Kante out of position, so the Frenchman should nail down the holding midfield role, with either Jorginho or Matteo Kovacic playing alongside him and Danny Drinkwater in reserve. But the more advanced role in the midfield three is very much up for grabs.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also injured, so it could be a straight fight between Ross Barkley and Mount for the number 10 role when Chelsea begin their campaign. We could even see Barkley playing in a deeper role next to Kante, with Mount leading the charge from a creative standpoint. He clearly has goals in his locker, and he had fans salivating with a recent free-kick in training, while he has a keen eye for a pass too and he can enjoy a breakthrough campaign in 2019/20.

The transfer ban could actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Chelsea. They are massive outsiders in the Champions League outright betting and it is perhaps unrealistic to expect them to challenge Man City and Liverpool for the Premier League title, but they could well surprise a few people.
It will give players like Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek, Abraham and Ethan Ampadu a chance to get a great deal of first team football under their belt. Fiyako Tomori also excelled on loan under Lampard at Derby last season, and he could expect a run out in the first team if one of David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen is injured. Reece James was Wigan’s player of the season last year and he made the Championship Team of the Season, so he could serve as a strong understudy to Cesar Azpilicueta.
Lampard has firmly stated his willingness to give young players a chance, and he is the perfect man to guide them on their path towards greatness. The feel-good factor has returned to the club after a season in which Sarri divided the fan base and toxicity began to take hold. The fans will get behind Lampard, and it is almost refreshing to be able to ignore the transfer gossip pages for an entire summer. Normally fans are full of excitement about the various superstars Chelsea will sign, but it will be interesting to get behind an exciting bunch of youngsters.


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