Richarlison — and more particularly, his goals — is yet to be replaced and now Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury means the Blues will be without a proven strikeforce for at least a few weeks as confirmed by Frank Lampard today during his pre-match press conference. To make things worse, back-up centre-forward Salomon Rondon will also be out as he serves the last game of his three-match suspension for a straight red card received last season against Brentford.
Lampard was asked how the Blues are planning to cope for the next couple of weeks at least, and the manager kept a straight face even as he was asked about Armando Broja.
“I wouldn’t speak about individual targets, but I think in the area of the pitch, yes. We are obviously aware of what we have.
“We lost Richarlison, who was versatile across the front as well. I know we’ve brought in Dwight McNeil, but we’re very aware of the areas we want to strengthen.
“Going into the first game with Salomon suspended as well makes it pretty clear that I think that might be one of the areas we look at.”
The manager was then asked about a number of other players who have been linked with the club in recent days, including defensive midfielders Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana, and the latest rumour from earlier today, Wolves defender Conor Coady, and if there was any truth to the chatter.
“I think you know the answer! I’m sure you’ve got to ask the question but it’s standard procedure is it not, and only right and respectful to not speak about other players individually.
“A lot of clubs going into this season, will be making movements in the first few weeks of the season. I don’t agree with it but it is what it is. Some clubs keep their cards close to their chest because of that and are waiting to see what happens when you get to the end of the window.
“We know where we want to get to and I think it’s better to keep that private at this point even though that’s not the answer that you want.”
Contrary to public opinions, Lampard added that the Toffees are not in a situation where they need to sell players to be able to bring others in.
“No there’s no ‘have-to’ about it. It’s a continued assessment and balance of the squad that you think is competitive in terms of number and in terms of quality. Not too big in terms of numbers because that can be a problem but I’m not at the stage where it’s that cut and dry - we have to assess it as we go along.
“The first thing I’ll say is I don’t think we’re the only team still looking for solutions. When the window goes three weeks into the season, to say everyone needs to get their business done early sounds great, but it’s not always the way. Some have talked about younger players going on loan, they need development.”
If true this is a pretty big revelation that the Blues can indeed spend some money during this transfer window, but then why the delay in signing any one of their forward targets including the relatively cheap Maxwel Cornet or Emmanuel Dennis?