LASESARRE, SPAIN - AUGUST 5: Puma Orbita, the official match ball of LaLiga in detail prior the pre-season friendly match between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on August 5, 2022 at Lasesarre Stadium in Barakaldo, Spain. Noxthirdxpartyxsales PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPN 195228971

Dear reader, it wasn’t that much of a surprise. Frank Lampard’s Derby County allowed Frank Lampard to miss the start of Frank Lampard’s Derby County’s pre-season so that he could dot the Is and cross the Ts on his contract at Premier League Chelsea.

To be fair, this was pretty efficient work from the Chelsea lot as last season they still had Antonio Conte in charge of the first few laps of the field. Lamps will actually be in situ for the full pre-season which will help him decide on what new signings he can bring in. Oh, yeah about that.

It seems to be a wild assumption that Frank will immediately promote all of the youth academy at Cobham to the first team and the Chelsea kids will lead Stamford Bridge to a brighter future. Alongside that, he’s following the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer blueprint of bringing the history back to the club by appointing club legends to the backroom team. Yes, yes – I did say history.

Jody Morris, Didier Drogba, Claude Makelele, Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Chris Sutton and Winston Bogarde are just some of the former Chelsea greats being linked to a return to their spiritual home.

Yet, the best thing Chelsea have pulled off this summer is convincing Atletico Madrid to take Alvaro Morata permanently and pay them the exact same sum they wasted in the first place. Petr Cech is making a difference already, clearly.

Another former Chelsea legend, Rafa Benitez, demanded a big budget to spend and he has finally got one. The only problem is, it’s in China. The ex-Newcastle United manager should have been careful what he wished for as he is now going to get to spend all the money he wants – but it’s in China. The football is even worse there than it is at St James’ Park.

First on Rafa’s shopping list could well be West Ham United’s Marko Arnautovic who has just filed his six-monthly transfer request. In this age of modern technology, I reckon Marko has a scheduled email just to pop into Karren Brady’s inbox every so often.

Someone who China couldn’t pay enough to kill his career was Jose Mourinho. Jose showed surprising restraint considering that there cannot be many top-level clubs left in Europe that would touch him with a barge-pole so there would have been some sense in taking the Chinese dollar and running all the way to the bank. Mind you, he’s earned enough from getting sacked in his career so maybe he is thinking of the fam.

Paul Pogba was given extra time off by Solskjaer as Man United reconvened for their summer camp. I mean, after all that extra effort Pogz put in at the end of last season he needed a rest, right? I’m not sure which is the dafter decision by Ole. Pandering to the guy who could not be sending out any less subtle ‘come and get me’ pleas to Real Madrid if he got his agent to phone Florentino Perez daily between now and United getting done on the first day of the season – or giving Marcus Rashford a deal thought to be worth £250k a week. After all, Rashford does epitomise everything about what Ole’s United will be. Young, English and massively inconsistent.

Hang on a goddam minute. It says that Tottenham Hotspur have paid actual money for a footballer from another team here. Can it be true? What’s that? Two players? I don’t believe it.

It’s true. Daniel Levy needed a crowbar to prise the wallet open but he has shelled out quite a few million quid for Leeds youngster Jack Clarke (loaned back to Leeds immediately so he doesn’t count) and the next Paul Pogba. Tanguy N’Dombele joins from a team in France for a lot of cash but, unlike Pogba, runs around a lot and seems to put a decent shift in.

Arsenal are keen to usher in a new dawn (again) next season and seem to be choosing between not giving Celtic enough money for left-back Kieran Tierney (young and talented) or throwing more good money after bad at Real Madrid’s Marcelo who currently goes on an overlap at half-past four and gets back around ten-past five.