Chelsea are capable of challenging for the Premier League inside the next two years, says Glenn Hoddle, but only if they get their recruitment right as Pedro and Willian appear destined to leave.
Two experienced forwards are approaching the end of their respective contracts at Stamford Bridge.
Both have been linked with La Liga giants Barcelona, with it possible that Brazil international Willian could be on the move before Friday’s transfer deadline.
Finding suitable replacements for any offloaded stars is the challenge facing Blues boss Frank Lampard.
He has been frustrated in his efforts to get deals done in January, but long-term vision is being shown in west London.
Hoddle expects that to serve the club well, but the former Chelsea player and coach admits that deals in upcoming windows will determine how quickly a return to the top of the domestic tree is made.
He told Premier League Productions: “I think [Lampard] does want to bring in somebody in this window. Whether he’s going to get that opportunity, reading between the lines I’m not so sure actually.
“But this is more important, over the next coming two windows I think for Frank. I think if he brings in the right professionals, the right experienced players, uses the right money on that level…
“He’s got the youngsters, he knows he’s got a group of young players there. In two years' time, if he brings in the right pros, the good apples and good players, experience, with these kids, I think they’ll be challenging for the league in two years' time.
“That’s how Chelsea owners have got to look at it, not about now. Even if he goes fifth this year and misses out on the top four, this squad and whatever manager is at Chelsea, the key is who he brings in, the experience.
“Those kids, they’re good enough. You’ve got six or seven of them, superb. And you’ve got a little underbelly as well, you’ve got a little underbelly coming through that are going to be great in two years' time.
“But these kids now that are playing are going to have two more years' experience. It is really important for Chelsea football club who he brings in, experienced players, to play with them.
“He’s going to be losing Pedro and Willian, they’ve been great players, they’re all going to be going. It’s really key for how their future is and it could be exciting in two years' time.”
Chelsea currently sit fourth in the Premier League table but have struggled for consistency of late and are only six points clear of Manchester United, Tottenham and Wolves.