Just a few days before Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked by Chelsea, he bemoaned the lack of a player capable of producing something "magical". Four months on and with Chelsea's bid for Kaka failing, Frank Lampard said yesterday that his club needed to buy a player like the Brazilian who could give them "the edge".
Lampard was speaking at England's hotel in Almaty ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan tomorrow from where he has been following the saga of the pursuit of Kaka with interest. There can be no doubt that the Brazilian playmaker would have fitted the bill to fill the creative void at Chelsea although it would appear that the club have all but given up on hijacking Real Madrid's prospective £56m deal for the player.
As Chelsea's chief playmaker Lampard said that he believed there would have been a way of blending Kaka into the side's trademark mix of power and strength. "Looking at us this season, we've got a strong squad and good players, but maybe we do need a little edge," Lampard said. "Someone who can produce something a little bit different to what we do already better, a bit of an edge. Kaka would certainly be in that mould.
"I don't think he would [clash with Lampard's style]. It would be for the manager and for us, as players, to work it out, but he's not the same kind of player to me. There would be elements that would be similar. But he's not the same. If you want to be a top player, and you're talking about a top player in Kaka and a top manager in Carlo Ancelotti, you'll find ways to get the best out of players."
Ancelotti will be the fifth Chelsea manager under whom Lampard has played but he said that it was an aspect of life that he had come to accept. He added that he had never sought to undermine a manager and did not believe that was part of the culture of the club. Ancelotti's arrival, he said, represented just another challenge.
"Every manager I've had has given me another push to a different level. If you're a strong pro, you don't worry too much about the fact that it's changing all the time. You need to worry about yourself, try to impress, and learn for the manager. If we all do that, we've got a great chance.
"Everyone I've spoken to who has worked with him [Ancelotti] gives him lots of praise as a man and as a manager. Me and the Chelsea boys are very excited. All Italian managers I've played under are aware of fitness, tactics, and I think they've had a big impact in our game. I played under Claudio Ranieri and he had a big effect on me, on how I live my life and the way I play. I like their work ethic."
As for Kaka, Lampard described him as an "elegant" player – "no circus tricks, but he's very effective". But if it is not to be Kaka who gives Chelsea the edge, then who? John Terry volunteered Franck Ribéry and David Villa after the FA Cup final. Lampard said he would not name names but confirmed that there would be the budget available, as there was for Kaka, to sign a big player.
"We need someone who can produce something for us, as a wide man or a creative midfield player, and someone as a striker," Lampard said. "We want to push on again. It seems our intentions are to really push on this summer and add players who can make us really top drawer."