Chelsea's transfer ban lifted: Sancho, Chilwell and Berge among Lampard's top targets

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Jadon Sancho Frank Lampard Ben Chilwell
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The Court of Arbitration for Sport has halved the Blues' transfer ban, meaning the Londoners are now free to dip back into the market next month

Chelsea are back in business.

On Friday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] announced that it had decided to halve both the fine and the two-window transfer ban placed upon the club by FIFA in February for breaching rules regarding the signing young players.

Consequently, the Blues are now free to re-enter the market next month.

Of course, Chelsea are by no means desperate to buy players. Despite being unable to strengthen his squad with new acquisitions during the summer, new manager Frank Lampard has surpassed all expectations with his mix of academy products and revitalised veterans.

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The Blues presently sit fourth in the Premier League and will guarantee qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League by beating Lille at home next week.

However, Lampard will still be looking to add to his squad. Indeed, Chelsea were always confident of having their transfer ban reduced on appeal and have, consequently, already identified potential targets for the January window.

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho is top of the list, although the Blues are well aware that they are only likely to win the race for the in-demand England winger with a club-record fee far exceeding the £72 million ($95m) they paid for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga 18 months ago.

Chelsea also know that they will have to go high if they are to have any hope of landing Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell.

The Foxes are riding high in second place in the Premier League and are, thus, dead against even considering a January sale.

Jadon Sancho Borussia Dortmund PS

A summer switch to Stamford Bridge is the far more likely outcome but even then, Chilwell will not come much cheaper.

Nathan Ake is a far more obtainable target, with Chelsea having inserted a buy-back clause in the Dutch defender's contract when he departed for Bournemouth in 2017.

The Blues would nonetheless have to pay exactly double the £20m ($26m) fee they sold him for but Lampard is a keen admirer of the 24-year-old Netherlands international.

Elsewhere, Germany duo Kai Havertz and Timo Werner are off the market in January despite being linked with the Stamford Bridge outfit.

At this point, it's also unknown if either the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder or the RB Leipzig striker – both of whom are being courted by a number of top clubs – would favour a move to west London over the numerous other destinations more likely to be on offer in the summer.

However, Chelsea are ready to compete for Genk's Sander Berge, the Norwegian midfielder who is also wanted by Liverpool and Napoli.

The Blues could also consider a January bid for wantaway Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, given his agent is once again trying to publicly encourage offers from 'Big Six' clubs for his client.

Chelsea will not be pushed into anything, though.

They are willing to spend big but the emphasis will be very much on quality over quantity, particularly as they want to ensure that the path to the first team remains clear now that it has been finally unblocked by Lampard's arrival.

Ben Chilwell Leicester Arsenal PS

Indeed, Conor Gallagher is just one of the next crop of exciting young talents who could soon get a chance to shine at Stamford Bridge, with the manager and his coaching staff having been impressed with the midfielder's performances on loan at Charlton Athletic.

There is money in the bank, though, with the club having raised over £130m ($171m) in player sales during the summer, thanks primarily to the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, but also because the Blues cashed in on a host of loanees.

In addition, Chelsea are set for another windfall at the end of the season when Alvaro Morata's loan move to Atletico Madrid is made permanent for £58m ($76m).

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Pedro and Marcos Alonso could also be moved on in the summer, while former Blues boss Maurizio Sarri is targeting a reunion with Emerson Palmieri at Juventus, although the full-back isn't yet thought to be interested in making the move to Turin.

However, Olivier Giroud could depart in January, given the out-of-favour forward is desperate to boost his hopes of making France's Euro 2020 squad, and the 21-year-old CSKA Moscow striker Fyodor Chalov is a potential replacement.

So, while Chelsea are not in any rush to splash the cash, now that their transfer ban has been effectively lifted, expect some movement next month as Lampard belatedly looks to make the most of his first opportunity to build a squad capable of challenging Liverpool and Manchester City in the years to come.

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