Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher insist Chelsea will not be serious Premier League title contenders unless they sign a new goalkeeper.
The Blues won their opening game of the season on Monday night, beating Brighton 3-1 thanks to goals from Jorginho, Reece James and Kurt Zouma.
Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga took some of the headlines, though, and made another error for the Seagulls’ goal. He’s now conceded nine times from his last 13 shots faced.
Chelsea have been heavily linked with a move for Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy but Lampard played down those links after the win over Brighton.
Lampard needs to make room in his squad before doing any more deals, having brought Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz in this summer.
But Sky Sports pundits Neville and Carragher have warned Chelsea they won’t be rivalling Liverpool and Manchester City at the top if they don’t add a top-class ‘keeper to their ranks.
Neville said after the game: “Chelsea were talking about winning the league but there’s absolutely no chance if you’re conceding goals like this.
“This will cause a real problem. This goal goes under his arm. It’s not a great shot. There’s not a lot of power. He sees it from a long way. I don’t know what happens. Goals conceded from outside the box – 19. That is a sorry story for a £70m goalkeeper.
“A few years ago, I used to be quite critical of Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet. 50 goals a season, but as soon as Alisson came everything became normal.
“It was the same at Manchester United in my time when we had that period between Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar. As soon as Van der Sar came, it became normal.
“Same with Manchester City in Pep Guardiola’s first season. Claudio Bravo kept letting goals in from everywhere and the save-to-shots ratio was poor. As soon as Ederson comes in, everything becomes really normal.
“If you don’t have your goalkeeper right you are going to massively struggle to get where you need to get to. You certainly will never win a league.
“You will not win a league with a goalkeeper who is letting goals in from outside his box, doesn’t dominate his area and concedes goals from set-pieces. It isn’t going to happen.
“It’s a stark warning. Frank Lampard knows this. He’s played in championship-winning teams, he knows what he needs to do, he doesn’t like the goalkeeper, he wants him out and he’s going to bring a new one in because he knows Frank Lampard will be sacked as a manager if he doesn’t win the league in the next two or three years.
“He’s spent £200m so he’s got to do it. Pep did it, Jurgen Klopp did it and Sir Alex Ferguson did it. Every manager of any salt will be harsh. He’s got to be ruthless and do it for himself because that £70m, he wants to look after the club’s money, he wants to try and get it back, but unfortunately, it’s gone.”
Despite Lampard offering his support for Kepa, Carragher believes the Spaniard’s display against Brighton will prompt Chelsea into closing a deal for Mendy.
“It [Kepa’s error] may actually push the club to get this deal [for Mendy] done a lot quicker because it could have cost them,” said the Liverpool legend.
“They very rarely get done in the transfer market but they’ve been done. He [Kepa] is not a £70m goalkeeper. They missed out on Alisson and he was a last resort.
“Edouard Mendy has certainly got better numbers than Kepa. Unfortunately for Kepa, some of his numbers are the worst in the league.
“Whoever you bring in, it looks like it’s going to be better. It’s just whether you are talking about Ederson or Alisson level, and that’s the level you need.
“Teams who win leagues, there is always a position the next summer, even when you’ve won the league, that you think you can improve. I can’t ever remember a team, going back to the mid-80s, who won the league with an average goalkeeper.”
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