Former Arsenal midfielder Merson believes Lampard shouldn’t sign Zaha to protect the progress of the club’s young stars, adding that the west London side are already well equipped in wide areas.

“Chelsea are well-stocked for wingers,” Merson wrote in the Daily Star, as quoted by the Daily Express. “I don’t see why they need him when they have all these young players coming through with much greater potential.”

He added: “I just can’t see a European giant paying £80m for a player who won’t get you double-figure goals every season. “Sometimes you’re better off being a big fish in a small pond. Everything revolves around him at Palace. They play through him all the time.

“At a big club you’re just part of the machine because everybody can play and everybody needs the ball. He wouldn’t get the same opportunities. “Look at Michael Ballack when he went to Chelsea. Everything went through him at Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich.

“He was the star. He got 100 touches a game to make something happen. He went to Chelsea and he wasn’t the star any more. “He was in the same midfield as Frank Lampard. He got half the touches he was used to, and that brings pressure.”

Chelsea FC boss Lampard has given the west London side’s youth products the chance to shine in the Blues team this term. Abraham has scored 12 goals in the Premier League this season – only Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Ings have scored more times.

Mason Mount has been a key player in the middle of the park for Chelsea FC, contributing five goals and two assists in 21 games in the Premier League. Callum Hudson-Odoi has shown glimpses of his potential on the wing since his return from a serious injury.