Five important players for Chelsea in season 2019/20

While Chelsea have yet to name a successor to Maurizio Sarri, club legend Frank Lampard remains the heavy favourite to slide into the managerial hot seat.

The Blues have been hit with a transfer ban which means they won’t be able to pay for new signings in the foreseeable future so whoever takes the reins will have to work with what’s already at Stamford Bridge.

Thanks to a billionaire owner, Chelsea have been seen as one of the lottery winners for football teams but their hands are now tied following FIFA’s ruling.

Chelsea are notorious for having a ‘loan army’ – the club loans out promising youngsters to clubs across the world with very few ever getting a real shot with the first team.

The goalposts have shifted though thanks to the transfer ban and the new manager will also have to cope with the loss of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.

There is still plenty of talent on hand, and we’ve picked out five players that will be crucial next season.

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Kepa Arrizabalaga

Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizablaga had an interesting first season in the Premier League following his £71.6 million move from Atletico Madrid.

The 24-year-old was given a mammoth seven-year contract and the fee made him the most expensive goalkeeper in football history.

A direct replacement for Thibaut Courtois, Kepa started well with six clean sheets in his first twelve starts for the Blues and he was the shootout hero as Chelsea reached the Carabao Cup Final.

It was at Wembley where he made headlines for the wrong reasons, refusing to be substituted for Willy Caballero despite concerns over his body cramping in extra time.

Chelsea were again involved in penalties, this time losing to Manchester City, and Kepa was subsequently dropped by Sarri for his actions.

However, he was restored to the starting line up and played a key role in the club’s Europa Leaguer success.

Ross Barkley

A lot was expected of Ross Barkley when he broke into the Everton team as a teenager, and he made his England debut at just 18 years of age in 2013.

However, injuries hampered Barkley’s development and he informed the Toffees that he wanted a new challenge, joining Chelsea for £15 million in January 2018.

Now 25, he is coming off a season where he managed 48 games, although a lot the game time was split loan signing and fellow central midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

Kovacic may not come back to Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid but even if he does, it’s now up to Barkley to cement a permanent starting spot for himself at both club and international levels.

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Callum Hudson-Odoi

One of England’s hot young prospects, Callum Hudson-Odoi’s breakthrough season was cut short by a terrible Achilles tendon injury while playing for England in April.

However, his recovery is well underway and would be the kind of player who could flourish under Lampard if that’s how things unfold.

Just 18 years of age, Hudson-Odoi is a tricky winger with bags of pace and the sort of excitement that, in the long term, could help Chelsea supporters get over the loss of Hazard.

Bayern Munich are reportedly interested in taking Hudson-Odio to Germany but the FIFA imposed transfer ban, coupled with his injury, should see him stay put for now.

It will take time for Hudson-Odoi to fully recover and build up his match fitness but once that happens he will be great to watch in action.

Christian Pulisic

It’s highly likely that Chelsea knew a transfer ban was on its way and that Eden Hazard was exploring other options so they pulled the trigger in January and snapped up Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund.

The 20-year-old has 27 caps to his name with the United States national side and did enough in Germany for Chelsea to justify spending £58 million to secure his signing.

Pulisic remained at Dortmund for the remainder of the 2018/19 season but is now focused on hitting the ground running with his new club.

Given his versatility (he is primarily a number 10 but has played on the wing a lot) and ability to play with both feet, comparisons to Eden Hazard are inevitable.

Chelsea fans are understandably keen to see him in action but should be patient and give him time to settle into English football.

Cesar Azpilicueta

The 29-year-old Spaniard is likely to be the new club captain following Gary Cahill’s release, and he is the perfect candidate for the job.

Signed from Marseille in 2012, Azpilicueta has been a model of consistency when used at right back, left back and centre back on occasion.

Defensively, Chelsea actually quite solid ahead of the new campaign with Kepa between the posts and Azpilicueta in a back four alongside Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso.

The talented Andreas Christensen is another viable option if he can keep himself fit.

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