Frank Lampard was once ‘pushing big’ to bring hotshot Erling Haaland to Chelsea


Lampard attempted unsuccessfully to bring the Norwegian hitman to west London during his first spell as Blues boss.

Frank Lampard has revealed he tried to sign Erling Haaland for Chelsea during his first spell as the manager at Stamford Bridge.

The Manchester City striker started against Lampard’s side in a pre-season friendly in 2019 while playing for RB Salzburg in Austria.

He scored 28 goals in 22 games this season before signing for Borussia Dortmund the following summer, but Lampard said he tried to bring him to west London instead during his 18-month stint between 2019 and 2021.

The final competition to sign the Norway international, coupled with the fact that not everyone at Chelsea was convinced that a bid for Haaland would be the right move, meant that Lampard was left frustrated.

His 36 Premier League goals for title-chasing City this season mean he has scored as many times in the league as Chelsea’s entire squad, with the two teams meeting at the Etihad on Sunday as City look for the victory they need to seal the deal . title.

Chelsea, on the other hand, remain in the bottom half of the table and their struggles in front of goal this season have shown no sign of easing in recent weeks.

“I have huge respect for him as a player, he’s the player I tried to bring to Chelsea when I was first here,” said Lampard. “I really wanted to get him here, but obviously it couldn’t happen. His level was very clear at that moment, we played against him in a friendly for Salzburg.

“I thank him, I like to see a player of that level, I like to see a player of that personality and hunger to play and be the best he has proven to be.” When it comes to dealing with him, of course you have to have a plan and an idea, but players at this level can make anything happen at any moment.

“I think he is special, I thought he would adapt immediately just (because of) his level. I think with the level of players and his scoring, first in Austria, then for his country and in the Bundesliga – which is not an easy league – already got into a really good whole.

“The rest is just a credit to him and the team around him. I expected it, it’s not just a simple backlash, I have real respect for the player.

“I don’t know if he would have decided to come here anyway, but I was a big fan. There are some of those that happen that people don’t know could have happened, people talk a lot about mistakes and things that could have been in football.

“I don’t know if he would come but I pushed a lot and for a few other players as well.” But he was special.

“I pushed it from our point, I’m not sure what the appetite was to do it everywhere else at the club. There was a lot of competition to take him because he was an excellent player. I think there was a buyout clause at the time, which I think was relatively reasonable for the player (he came to Dortmund for around £17m). I don’t have enough details to say how close it was.”

Lampard has two games under his belt from his transition period, with Manchester United at Old Trafford after City and Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

He has won just once in his eight games in the job, 3-1 at Bournemouth in May, while six defeats have come in that time, including a Champions League exit to Real Madrid.

Mauricio Pochettino is expected to be confirmed in the coming days as the permanent successor to Graham Potter, who was sacked on April 2, and faces a huge rebuild after a disastrous season for the club.

Despite the poor run of form, Lampard said he has no regrets about agreeing to take over from Potter on a short-term basis.

“I enjoyed it, I get asked about it a lot,” he said. “You always want to get results, but in football you have to be realistic.” When I came in, the Champions League dream that everyone was talking to me about, (they said) it’s already happened, can we do it again?

“The realistic answer was that we were where we were in the league for a reason. Our aim was to try to beat Real Madrid and then possibly City to get to the final. As for the rest of the work, it was about how many small wins I could try and influence behind the scenes. You cannot always control the results.

“In general, there is a lot of work here. I can have a certain influence on certain individuals in the group because I have a lot of feeling for the club.”

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