Frank Lampard hopes Chelsea will be able to take a huge leap to challenge Liverpool for the Premier League title next season but acknowledges recruitment will be key.
Chelsea served a transfer ban ahead of the current 2019-20 campaign, which was then reduced to ensure the Blues can make signings in January.
Lampard, appointed at the start of 2019-20, will get the opportunity to influence Chelsea's involvement in the transfer market for the first time, but he already has the team in a healthy position.
Chelsea is fourth in the Premier League table, inspired by academy stars Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, and Lampard hopes its talented prospects can be boosted by new recruits before 2020-21.
"I definitely don't want to declare [a title challenge] at this point," Lampard told reporters ahead of facing Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.
"Liverpool might have something to say about it - they're 20 points more than us. That has to be the aim.
"The transfer ban was one thing. It gave us a chance to look at the players, see what we've got, look at the youth, and I think that's been good.
"The more and more I see us play, the good and the bad, you change your feeling about how you want to go forward, but the end game is the same. Once we can start bringing players in and the young players hopefully mature, we want to bridge that gap to go up there.
"Whether that can happen next year, I don't know. That'll depend on the work we do and how quickly it hits home, but I'll certainly not leave any stone unturned in how I work to get us there.
"There are too many variables. We'll have to get recruitment right - that'll be a huge deal. It's not just whoever the individual is who comes in but can they help influence the way we want to play and improve the way we want to play.
"Because I've got a clear idea of what that is and it didn't look like the first 30 minutes [against Arsenal]. But we've shown at times this year that we've got a chance."
Lampard is confident Chelsea's transfer plans will be effective as he works with director Marina Granovskaia, technical director Petr Cech and head scout Scott McLachlan amid links to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and RB Leipzig's Timo Werner.
"We are certainly joined up," he said. "I know we haven't done anything yet, so there's no proof in that, but we are joined up in that I have very close conversations with Marina, very close conversations with Petr Cech and Scott, the head of our recruitment department.
"They know what I want and I'll be fundamentally in the middle of who and what we bring into the club. As it stands, we're very, very open about that.
"So if it feels right from my side on a footballing point in January, from the club's side on a club point, then we'll make the moves we make. But it is a joint up effort."
- Vijay Hazare Trophy LIVE Score, Round 7: Mumbai loses two wickets in 200 chase vs Odisha; Karnataka, TN win
- KIIT University bags Best Sports Facility award in CII Sports Business Awards 2023
- Warner angst adds spice to Australia’s sleepy home summer
- Vijay Hazare Trophy: Himachal’s Arpit Guleria records eight wickets against Gujarat, third Indian to feat in List A
- Ethiopian Yehualaw, Kenya’s Ebenyo to make debuts at Tata Steel Kolkata 25K on December 17