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Frank Lampard is under pressure to deliver on Roman Abramovich’s expectations at Chelsea and that means the likes of Christian Pulisic will need to offer more than shirt sale value, says Craig Burley.
The Blues have assembled a star-studded squad that is loaded with sporting and commercial potential.
More top talent will soon be joining the ranks at Stamford Bridge, with summer transfer deals tied up for Morocco international Hakim Ziyech and prolific German frontman Timo Werner.
They will be providing competition for the likes of United States star Pulisic and England internationals Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
Burley says no player is guaranteed a regular role for the Blues heading forward, with further funds having been invested with the intention of making Chelsea title challengers again.
“Anyone who thinks they are going to get in this team because they might sell a few jerseys is living in cloud cuckoo land because Lampard knows he is under pressure to close that gap, get Chelsea back to the top,” former Blues midfielder Burley told ESPN FC.
“Abramovich will expect it, he’s gone out with the cheque book already and given him Timo Werner – one of the best forwards in European football – and he’ll expect results.
“None of that frontline, or any other player in the Chelsea team, will play next season or beyond unless they are deserving of a place in the starting XI. It’s as simple as that.”
Competition for places can be found all over the field at Stamford Bridge, with Lampard boasting depth to his ranks from back to front.
Between the sticks, Kepa Arrizabalaga may be the most expensive goalkeeper in world football but he is not guaranteed to keep Willy Caballero stuck on the sidelines.
Lampard has shown as much this season, with a Spain international dropped to the bench amid questions of his form and attitude.
Kepa has won his place back, and has been figuring since the Premier League restart, but Burley believes the 25-year-old is yet to convince his manager that he is a long-term option – with Chelsea having already been linked with a move for Ajax No.1 Andre Onana.
Burley said on the back of a 2-1 victory for the Blues over Aston Villa in which questions were once again asked of Lampard’s back line: “Defensively they have looked a little bit iffy and when that happens you need to have a rock-solid goalkeeper behind you, and I don’t think that the Chelsea manager believes he has got that.”