The England international is the Blues’ top scorer this season yet the Stamford Bridge outfit seem determined to find a different centre forward
Tammy Abraham’s first full season in the Chelsea first team saw the striker return 18 goals and six assists in all competitions as he helped the Blues to a top-four finish.
Despite that, Timo Werner was brought in from RB Leipzig over the summer, with most presuming that the Germany international would become the club’s starting central striker.
Quite what Abraham was thinking was anyone’s guess, but his failure to agree a new contract at Stamford Bridge suggested he was not overly pleased with facing increased competition.
Regardless, the 23-year-old has got his head down in 2020-21 and worked tirelessly on his game, and while Werner has toiled in front of goal, the England international continues to prove his worth.
Abraham’s FA Cup hat-trick against Luton Town on Sunday saw him move into double figures for goals this season and leaves him as Chelsea’s top scorer in all competitions this term.
There is still a sense, though, that every time Abraham takes to the field that he needs to prove himself to both Frank Lampard and Chelsea’s supporters; neither of whom seem totally convinced by the forward.
Some will point to Abraham’s treble against Luton as just another example of him filling his boots against lower-league opposition, with the former Aston Villa loanee having failed to fully prove himself at the highest level as yet.
Abraham, though, can only play what is in front of him, and perhaps if he was given more opportunities in the Premier League then his returns in front of goal would continue to rise.
He has started just nine of Chelsea’s 18 league games so far this season. He was dropped to the bench for three straight league games in the immediate aftermath of scoring three times across two starts against West Ham and Arsenal either side of Christmas, perfectly illustrating his difficulties.
Lampard has a trio of strikers to keep happy, with Olivier Giroud and Werner both fighting for starting berths too. All three strikers have aims to start up front for their respective nations at this season’s European Championship.
But right now Abraham is the most deserving of a run leading the line, particularly given the improvements he has shown in his ability to link up play. That skill may well have come from training and learning alongside Giroud. Abraham already has six assists to his name in this campaign; a number which matches what he managed across the total of 2019-20.
But even if Abraham does get a run in the team and continues to find the net with regularity, will it ever be enough for Chelsea?
It is understood that the Blues are keen to ensure they are in the conversation regarding the future of Erling Haaland, with the Norway striker highly likely to leave Borussia Dortmund over the next 18 months.
The Bundesliga outfit are likely to rebuff any attempts to sign the 20-year-old this summer, but Chelsea’s insistence that they are in the race to sign Europe’s hottest young striker says as much about their own ambitions as it does where they see Abraham.
Any club in the world would, of course, want Haaland leading their line given his goalscoring exploits, but what would signing him mean for Abraham? A lot more games warming the bench, most likely.
Signing Haaland or his Dortmund team-mate Jadon Sancho looks a long way off for a Chelsea team that could fall into the bottom half of the Premier League table with defeat to Wolves on Wednesday, and as such they should be looking to maintain the morale of the players they have their disposal right now rather than considering future signings.
Abraham may be the one of the more important squad members to keep happy, as though his current contract does not run out until 2023, other clubs will likely be on alert if they get wind that Chelsea remain keen to replace him.
“Tammy gets three goals which is great for him and us because it keeps his confidence up and the overall performance was really good,” Lampard said post-match after the Luton win as he continues to fight for his own future in west London.
Right now the Chelsea boss has a striker who is directly contributing towards a goal once every 77 minutes he is on the pitch. Rather than thinking about replacing him – again – it might be time to show Abraham that the club and his coaches believe in him.
All being well for both parties, Abraham could well be the man to save Lampard his job.
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