Frank Lampard says Chelsea may need to sign a Virgil van Dijk figure in the transfer market to solve their problems with set-pieces.
Chelsea have conceded the highest number of goals from corners in the League this campaign, though they have a higher average height than six other clubs in the league.
Having signed Timo Werner and Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech, the blues are in the transfer market for defenders, and Ben Chilwell has emerged as a key target for Lampard’s side, but they could also sign a centre-back.
Chelsea have been targeted in the Premier League thi campaign for their inability to defend set-pieces and Lampard says that he thinks the problem is with the players.
“We spoke after the game,” Lampard told reporters. “We’ve looked at set-pieces this season. When we came into the club, we looked at the stats from last season. Last season, we were bottom of the league defending set-plays, in terms of teams getting big chances against us, and second bottom in attacking.
“So we looked at that. It’s not just a reference to last season because we haven’t improved much this year.
“If you look at personnel, and I really don’t like to talk about my own playing days, but we didn’t work much at all on set-pieces, certain managers more than others, and there were a few reasons, mainly John Terry, Gary Cahill, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and Branislav Ivanovic.
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“So you’d stick it in an area and they would defend it or score goals. Similarly with Liverpool, I remember a lot of talk about them and set-pieces a few seasons ago. They were zonal and conceding a lot. They signed Virgil van Dijk and he heads out everything that comes in the box.
“So there’s a huge relation to personnel. If you don’t have that size across the team, the main thing is trying to compete as hard as you can and making it difficult for other teams to score. There’s no doubt and I’m not making excuses because we haven’t done that well enough on the pitch and that has to improve.
“When you look at who you might bring in with the balance of the squad, in the modern day, it is certainly something to take into account when you’re looking at recruitment. Defensively, the players that are here now I have to focus on.
“What happens in the summer will be what happens. I don’t want to talk too far ahead. It’s not the right thing to do. We’ve got a strong group and we’ve got a job to do. We will sit down and look at it in the summer.”