Quite simply, Chelsea’s transfer ban has been the best thing to happen to the football club in a long time.
For too long it was all about short-term gain and instant success at Stamford Bridge, but finally there seems to be a plan in place with a firm focus on the future.
A staggering 41 players were shipped out on loan last summer – with many of those questioning whether they’d ever get a first-team chance at Chelsea – who play Brighton live on talkSPORT 2 this Saturday.
But now, with club legend Frank Lampard at the helm, those youngsters who are good enough will get an opportunity to impress.
Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham have already made a big impact for the Blues, with the latter scoring seven goals in his last five appearances in all competitions.
Reece James, who contributed two assists and a goal on his senior debut in the 7-1 drubbing of Grimsby on Wednesday night, is also primed to make the right-back spot his own sooner rather than later.
There are also high hopes for 18-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour, who ran the show in the Carabao Cup encounter.
Lampard’s matchday squad included 10 academy graduates, four of whom started against the League Two side.
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Marc Guehi and Callum Hudson-Odoi were among the starting XI, as well as the aforementioned James and Gilmour.
While some questioned whether this was going to be too big a job for the former England midfielder – especially so early on in his managerial career – the early signs have been very positive.
The fan base are arguably more united than they’ve ever been – on a par with Jose Mourinho’s first stint at the club – back in 2004.
A 2-1 defeat to Liverpool left Chelsea 11th in the table and already a mammoth 10 points off the leaders, but that didn’t stop the home faithful applauding their side off the field after a valiant effort against Jurgen Klopp’s men.
A welcome sense of perspective is now echoed from the vast majority of Chelsea fans, many of whom were crying out for the youth revolution to come for many years.
With that has come a ‘likeable’ factor, something not associated with the Blues for many years.
There is no getting away from the fact Abrahmovich bankrolled the club to five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups and three European trophies, including the Champions League.
But he isn’t the first club owner to that and he won’t be the last.
There was certainly a sense of jealously directed at Chelsea because of their unlimited transfer war chest back then.
The likes of Mourinho and John Terry were also very much pantomime villains for most other clubs and then there was Diego Costa – whose absence is very evident.
The Brazilian was an utter wind-up merchant, a notorious s***house, but brilliant nonetheless.
There are different types of character around the club now, with none other than N’Golo Kante typifying that.
You’ll need to search long and hard to find a more likeable footballer than the French World Cup winning midfielder.
The two-time Premier League title winner’s humble and kind-hearted nature has made him a big hit with supporters all over the world – let alone Chelsea fans.
He’s attended the wedding of a supporter’s daughter, played FIFA and watched Match of the Day with an Arsenal fan he met at mosque, and plenty more.
This shift by the Blues has not gone unnoticed. Speaking on Sky Sports last week Manchester United legend Gary Neville admitted he is starting to get a bit of a ‘soft spot’ for the Blues.
“I’m not saying I dislike Chelsea, but they’ve been a difficult club to like because of what they’ve done and the fact the players always seemed a bit nasty,” he said.
“I think this is the most likeable Chelsea XI we’ve seen in Roman Abramovich’s time.”
And as you can see above, rival fans are taking a liking to them too.
The most important thing now is for the Chelsea board to let Lampard continue what he’s doing and for the Chelsea faithful not to let their unwavering support for the Premier League legend dwindle.
It won’t be easy, but Lampard’s disposal is a young, talented squad which is capable of competing at the highest level and they can do it with the backing of the nation.
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you three live Premier League commentaries across our network. You can hear live and exclusive commentary of Chelsea vs Brighton on talkSPORT 2 this Saturday at 3pm.