For Chelsea, few transfer windows will ever come as close to perfection as the summer of 2004.
Petr Čech came in in goal, Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira bolstered the defence, Tiago brought steel to the midfield and the duo of Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba helped light up the attack. It was astonishing.
Every weak spot in the squad was filled with an elite talent, and Chelsea responded by lifting the Premier League title. It was the kind of window which fans can usually only dream of.
Matching that 2004 window is a tough task, but Chelsea are doing their utmost to pull off something similar this summer.
Defensive problems have been sorted by adding Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell. Creativity has been added through Hakim Ziyech. Timo Werner will help Chelsea’s conversion rate. Kai Havertz will only make Chelsea stronger.
However, this window is not yet perfect, and that’s because Chelsea’s most glaring weakness is yet to be addressed – goalkeeper.
When watching Chelsea’s games last season, the frailties in between the sticks stood out more than anything. Kepa Arrizabalaga could not be relied on to catch a ball and command his penalty area, and the team looked weaker because of that.
Chelsea could dominate possession and create 20 great opportunities to score, but opponents would often need just one to snatch at least a point.
If that does not change this summer – if Chelsea don’t find a new goalkeeper – then the 2020 transfer window can never be viewed as perfect.
While Frank Lampard is building a frightening attacking line which will leave defenders feeling genuinely scared, opponents will still feel some optimism coming up against the current Chelsea side.
Compare that with Liverpool or Bayern Munich, two sides who leave you feeling terrified every time you come up against them. You know they’ll score goals and you know they won’t concede many. Chelsea aren’t at that point yet, and until they find a new goalkeeper, they won’t get there.
Lampard doesn’t necessarily need to bring in the biggest name for the job. Sure, we’d all love a Jan Oblak or a Marc-André ter Stegen, but Chelsea simply need somebody reliable. That’s it. Just somebody who fills you with confidence.
If that costs £100m, then so be it. If that costs closer to the £30m mark, even better.
Fortunately for Chelsea, there are plenty of options available this summer. Ajax’s André Onana, Burnley’s Nick Pope and Lille’s Mike Maignan have all been touted as candidates for the role, and all three look they would sort out the Blues’ backline.
The question for Chelsea now is whether to address the issue immediately. Do they go out now and splash £30m or so on Onana (or whoever), safe in the knowledge that their goalkeeping woes will be sorted out? Or do they wait, see how the market progresses and gamble that Onana will still be there on deadline day?
Say Chelsea somehow manage to sell Arrizabalaga for around £50m, that’s extra money which can be spent on a better goalkeeper. If you add permanent exits for Tiemoué Bakayoko, Michy Batshuayi, Emerson and anyone else, Chelsea could be pushing the £100m mark just from sales alone. Should they then reinvest that in Oblak?
While bringing in the bigger name sounds more appealing, Chelsea simply cannot risk not addressing their need for a new goalkeeper. It’s time to find someone competent and get a deal done.
Once that’s done, Chelsea will be back to their football-ruining ways. Perfection is close.