Richard Buxton: The times they are a-changin’ at Chelsea
New arrivals spell likely end for deadwood, as Lampard eyes upgrading squad
Simply making up the numbers has never been in Chelsea's modern make-up.
Frank Lampard's side are not preparing to break from that habit as they take on Liverpool in a showdown which is predetermined by what is happening off the pitch.
With FA Cup glory and qualification for next season's Champions League still firmly in their hands, the Blues will hardly be willing bystanders for the coronation of the new English Premier League champions at Anfield tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
The visitors head to Merseyside with more than competitive aims on their minds.
Many of them, if not all, face a fight for their immediate long-term futures in the capital.
A deal for Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz is set to further strengthen the Europa League holders' growing wealth of attacking talents with negotiations reported to be at an advanced stage.
For those presently in the ranks at Stamford Bridge, the anticipated arrival of the highly coveted 21-year-old playmaker threatens to herald the end of their own stints.
Competition is already set to be heightened within the ranks by the signings of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Havertz's capture, however, moves the push for places down the field and towards some of Lampard's most able lieutenants in this campaign.
Ross Barkley, in particular, should be fearful of the Germany international's looming presence. Barely 2½ years ago, Everton's one-time prospect arrived in the English capital to greater confusion than fanfare after his form significantly tailed off.
At 26, he should have the world at his feet after comparisons with Paul Gascoigne became inescapable at the beginning of his rise to prominence.
They exist, but it is the former midfield dynamo's latter-stage career which is a more befitting commentary.
His heroics against the Reds in February's FA Cup tie will count for precious little when stacked against the brimming potential that their latest marquee signing can offer.
Marcos Alonso, too, must dread the heightened speculation surrounding a move for Leicester City's Ben Chilwell as his designated replacement at left-back in this window.
Lampard has made no secret of Chelsea's eagerness to bridge the gap on both Liverpool and their similarly high-ranking EPL peers.
For all the previous emphasis on industry, fast-tracking his squad to that level is clearly the top priority this summer.
Upgrading his existing charges while cutting away deadwood means those still in favour are as susceptible to upheaval as the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Danny Drinkwater.
Fostering a culture of togetherness served the west Londoners well when a Fifa-imposed transfer ban was in full effect, yet that approach seemingly does not apply any more.
A home-grown policy is likely to be pushed away from the spotlight and back into the shadows with only the familiar refrain of a "loan army" returning to the fore.
Only Mason Mount is expected to cut through and even then, he could largely be just a peripheral figure.
Deep down, those that step out in blue shirts at Anfield tomorrow know they are condemned men, both as potential party poopers and viable departees.
Right now, preserving what lingers of once fledgling playing reputations is all they can cling to. Chelsea are again aiming for the stars and there is no room for B-listers.
Lampard's ragtag bunch need to prove that they are still worthy of a place among the key credits.