Monday 15 July 2019

'This situation can be compared to Steven Gerrard's' - John Aldridge's verdict on Frank Lampard's Chelsea move

Frank Lampard could be working for Roman Abramovich again (Nick Potts/PA)
Frank Lampard could be working for Roman Abramovich again (Nick Potts/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea are taking a huge gamble by appointing Frank Lampard as their next manager, according to former Ireland striker John Aldridge.

Lampard is set to make a return to the club where he became a legend in his playing days, winning a host of trophies and becoming Chelsea's all-the record scorer in a stellar career.

Now he is set to be unveiled as Maurizio Sarri's replacement as Blues manager, with the Aldridge suggesting the 40-year-old who has just one year of experience on the touchline from a spell in charge of Derby will struggle to live up to expectations at Stamford Bridge.

"Lampard is being lined up as their next manager, but I can't see it working out for a number of reasons," says Aldridge.

"While Lampard seems to be a nice guy and he is a Chelsea legend after everything he achieved as a player, he has just one year of managerial experience to call upon and that solitary season with Derby ended with defeat in the play-off final.

"This situation can be compared to that of Steven Gerrard in many ways, as he is doing his apprenticeship at Rangers and could return to Liverpool as manager one day, but not right now.

"Lampard has to take the Chelsea job if it is offered to him and the fans will like to see a legend back at the club, but I don't see it being a long-term fix for a club that has never given managers time to bounce back when the tide turns around them.

"This is a worrying summer for Chelsea as Lampard will be working with a transfer embargo in place at the club and he will struggle to fill the void left by Eden Hazard's exit to Real Madrid.

"Appointing a club legend is good to lift the spirits of supporters for a short period of time and we saw that when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went in as Manchester United manager, but it's a short term fix when you appoint a manager who is not ready to manage of club of that size."

Aldridge is expecting a familiar battle at the top of the Premier League table next season, as he predicts Liverpool and Manchester City will battle it out for the title once again.

"The well-oiled (pun intended!) Manchester City machine will have some fresh parts added to it this summer, as the club with unlimited funds try to ensure Liverpool get no closer to them in the Premier League title race," he added.

"Vincent Kompany's exit is a blow because John Stones is nowhere near good enough to fill that void and play at the top level of the game and will not be a serious replacement for a talisman who did so much for City prior to his exit to take up the role as Anderlecht player/coach.

"I'm also interested to see what happens with Leroy Sane because he is far too good to sit on the bench and ear big money for doing nothing. If he is not a first choice starter for manager Pep Guardiola, Sane should look to move on and get regular football elsewhere.

"Overall, they don't need to tweak too much to remain the dominant force in the Premier League and so long as Guardiola is in place, any side with ambitions to win the title will need to find a way to finish ahead of City and that won't be easy.

"Liverpool are the only team that will come close to competing with them and I expect to see the same two teams at the top of table next season."

Read John Aldridge in the Sunday World every weekend

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