Mason Mount is a player that Chelsea supporters have been excited about for long time. It has been hoped that he would be the next success story to emerge from the club’s excellent youth academy. In recent years, the path to the first-team has been blocked, due to the high standards of the club. However, two recent disappointments for the Blues has provided a huge opportunity to the English midfielder.
The first was the transfer ban, which prevents the club from signing any new players in this and the next transfer window. The second was the departure of Maurizio Sarri. Although many were pleased that Juventus swooped for the Italian coach following a turbulent season in charge at Stamford Bridge, it was a blow to have a manager poached by a European rival. His successor, Frank Lampard, is a Chelsea legend, who happens to be the coach that brought Mount to Derby County for a successful loan spell.
This season could be the best opportunity Mount ever gets to grasp a prominent role in the Chelsea squad. It is clear he has the potential to be a first-team regular for the Blues, but he needs to quickly make an impact if he is to be afforded that role.
During pre-season, he has been one of the standout performers and it is clear that his pre-existing relationship with the new manager will benefit him this season. Mount has scored three times, which is more than any other player in the Chelsea squad. There is a lot of competition for places in the midfield area, with Ross Barkley, Matteo Kovacic, Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek already vying for minutes alongside Ngolo Kante.
The task for Lampard will be to find a tactical set-up and a blend of individuals that can replace the creativity and goal threat of Eden Hazard. This will be a very difficult task for a club that can’t sign new players. However, in Mount, they have a player that does contribute in the final third. Last season, he contributed nine goals and four assists for Derby. He averaged 2.5 shots and 1.9 key passes per game. Those who watched the team regularly will attest that they were far more effective with the 20-year-old in the team.
Meanwhile, in his previous loan spell, he scored a very impressive 14 goals and contributed a further nine assists for Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie. Mount is very much a player that shares a lot of similarities to the man that he is now operating under. The 20-year-old provides a goal threat from range, while his movement in the final third is improving and in-game intelligence is there for all to see.
In the recent friendly with Reading, he showed an impressive reading of the game to arrive late on to the edge of the penalty area, steal the ball and fire home for his first goal. His second goal displayed his work rate, as he closed the goalkeeper down and forced the error, resulting in an easy finish.
The transfer ban will hurt the club in the short term, but there will be benefits. The emergence of Mount as a first-team player should be one of those.