Frank Lampard does not believe qualification for the Champions League is critical to Chelsea’s mission to close the gap on their Wednesday night opponents Liverpool, but he admits the competition’s “prestige” would help that process.
Chelsea are conducting one of their most ambitious rebuilding jobs since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. They have already signed Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and Hakim Ziyech from Ajax for a combined fee of £84m ($105m).
The Blues remained locked in talks with Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz and have been targeting Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell and West Ham’s Declan Rice, although those deals looking increasingly unlikely.
Yet, the current work behind the scenes underlines the club’s ambition ahead of the trip to Anfield to come, before they welcome Wolves to Stamford Bridge on the final day of the season.
Lampard, as one would expect, wants Champions League football to accompany that work off the field.
“It’s massively important for the club,” Lampard told reporters on a Zoom video conference call. “Not just for the prestige. But if you are a club on the world stage like Chelsea have been you want to compete at the highest level and attract players of the highest level.
“It obviously generates money for the club, let’s make no bones about it. So you understand why there is such intense scrutiny on who finishes in the top four. It would have been unheard of a good few years ago. Now it becomes not a trophy but an accomplishment in itself.
“We want to move further than that so we look on upwards in the Premier League but getting into the Champions League has to be, even with the way this year the season has gone, it has to be an aim for us.”