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Football London
Football London
Tom Coley

Frank Lampard sends Mauricio Pochettino controversial triple Chelsea transfer hint with £202m call

Frank Lampard made several bold selection calls in Chelsea's XI to face Nottingham Forest in their penultimate home game of the season. It came one week after recording his first win as interim head coach, also earning the only points of his caretaker spell in charge too.

Forced into leaving N'Golo Kante out, a worry on its own after the Frenchman's chequered season with setbacks once again, the 44-year-old still switched things up moving forward despite putting three past Bournemouth on the south coast last time out.

As well as 18-year-old Lewis Hall there was a return to the side for Mateo Kovacic, Raheem Sterling and Joao Felix as well as Edouard Mendy in goal. Kante's injury once more throws into doubt his potential new contract with continued concerns over how he will handle top-level football for a full season.

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It's not the only transfer-related call that will be a close watch in the final three games of the season. Mendy hasn't played since October and is a major candidate for being moved on. However, Kepa himself is far from certain to be the next No. 1 for then new head coach - still expected to be Mauricio Pochettino.

Lampard reiterated that the goalkeeping choice wasn't due to anything of the like, explaining: "It is an opportunity that I think for his part is well deserved from how he's training. We've got two very good goalkeepers here that have played for us and Kepa's playing really well."

Mendy was at fault for Taiwo Awoniyi's opener at Stamford Bridge and continued a poor run of form when he has been selected, once again adding evidence to a growing portfolio suggesting he has fallen from the levels needed to be the goalkeeper next season. Lampard's selection does pose for interesting reading, though.

Both keepers are out of contract in 2025 and could be on their way out this summer. Given that highly-rated USMNT star Gabriel Slonina is still only a teenager, if both keepers are to move on then it would mean that potentially two more are needed to fill the places. Slonina is likely to be sent out in search of first-team football on loan.

For Pochettino, this is a sign of the uncertainty in a key position and way well prove to be a blow for both Kepa and Mendy in regards to their future.

As for the forward line, Sterling was favoured over Mykhailo Mudryk on the left and rewarded the faith, scoring twice in the second half in the 2-2 draw. It was the decision to play Joo Felix centrally that raised eyebrows, though. The 23-year-old had 34 touches but failed to create a true chance, glancing his best attempt comfortably into the hands of Keylor Navas.

He is in transfer purgatory of his own currently. With reports suggesting he is happy in London and England as well as Chelsea, it waits to be seen how the new manager views things, especially considering the amount of attackers on the books at Stamford Bridge, the price of Felix and his lack of major impact.

His three goals have been impressive but have also come sporadically and without any true meaning in terms of results. The demands from Atletico Madrid suggest he will be priced out of a permanent move to SW6 but a second loan has been reported as an option.

Whilst anything close to the £111m that was paid for him in 2019 is out of the question for Chelsea, something closer to the £12m loan deal for six months is a more likely source of a move. Either way, the clubs aren't close to an agreement and Felix cannot yet be considered as part of the plans for next season.

Although on the face it Felix is perhaps lucky to be given minutes at this stage of the season when his ties to the club beyond May are tentative at best, these games do also provide more opportunities for him to make a point and prove his worth in the long run.


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