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

By Sports Desk May 19, 2023

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 came up against Lampard’s team in a pre-season friendly in 2019 while he was playing for RB Salzburg in Austria.

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

Ultimately competition for the Norway international’s signature, together with the fact not everybody at Chelsea was convinced that a bid for Haaland would have been 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 the entire Chelsea squad have, with the two teams meeting at the Etihad on Sunday as City look for the victory they need to seal the title.

Chelsea by contrast remain in the bottom half of the table, with their struggles in front of goal this season having shown no sign of easing in recent weeks.

“I’ve got huge respect for him as a player, he’s a player I tried to bring to Chelsea the first time I was here,” said Lampard. “I was really keen to get him here but obviously that couldn’t happen. His level at that point was very clear, we played against him in a pre-season game for Salzburg.

“Credit to him, I love seeing players of that level, I love seeing players of that personality and hunger to play and be the best which he’s proved himself to be. In terms of having to deal with him you have to have obviously a plan and an idea, but players of that level can make anything happen at any moment.

“I think he’s special, I thought he’d adapt straight away just (because of) his level. I think with the level of players and his record of scoring, firstly in Austria then for his country and in the Bundesliga – which is not an easy league – to come into a really good unit already.

“The rest is just credit to himself and the team around him. I did expect that, it’s not just an easy hindsight answer, I’ve got real respect for the player.

“I don’t know whether 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 about that could have been this way, people talk a lot about mistakes and the things that could have been in football.

“Whether he would have come I don’t know, but I was pushing big, and for a couple of other players as well. But he was the outstanding one.

“From our point I was pushing it, I’m not sure what the appetite everywhere else in the club was to do it. The competition was big to take him because he was an outstanding player. I think there was a buyout clause at the time which I think was relatively reasonable given the player (he joined Dortmund for around £17million). I don’t have enough detail to say how close it was.”

Lampard has two matches left of his interim spell in charge, with Manchester United at Old Trafford and Newcastle at Stamford Bridge to come after City.

He has won only once during his eight games in the job, a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth earlier in May, with six defeats having come in that time including a Champions League exit to Real Madrid.

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

Despite the poor form, Lampard said he has no regrets about agreeing to take over in the short-term from Potter.

“I have enjoyed it, I get asked it a lot,” he said. “You want to always get results but you have to be realistic in football.  When I came into this, the Champions League dream that everyone talked to me about, (saying) it’s been done before, can we do it again?

“The realistic answer was we were where we were in the league for a reason. Our view was to try and beat Real Madrid then possible City to get to a final. In terms of the rest of the job, it’s been how many small wins can I try and impact behind the scenes. You can’t always impact results.

“Generally there’s a lot of work to do here. I can have a certain impact with certain individuals within the group because I have a big feeling for the club.”

Related items

  • Spotlight on the youngsters who helped carry Liverpool to Carabao Cup glory Spotlight on the youngsters who helped carry Liverpool to Carabao Cup glory

    Liverpool beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday with a side containing a number of inexperienced youngsters due to a host of injuries to senior players. Here, the PA news agency looks at the fresh faces who took the chance to shine at Wembley.

    Conor Bradley (starter)

    A relatively familiar name among the group having been given an opportunity in the second half of the campaign in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Northern Irish right-back, 20, who spent last season on loan at Bolton, has shown promise for his attacking and defensive qualities.

    Bobby Clark (substitute)

    Another to have been given a handful of opportunities in recent weeks, the 19-year-old is an attacking midfielder or forward. The son of former Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark, he joined the club from the Magpies in 2021 and signed a long-term contract last December.

    James McConnell (substitute)

    Also 19, the midfielder has featured a handful of times off the bench after making his debut against Toulouse in the Europa League in October. Joined Liverpool as an Under-15s player after catching the eye at Sunderland.

    Jayden Danns (substitute)

    An 18-year-old forward who only made his first-team debut as an 89th-minute substitute in the 4-1 win over Luton last Wednesday. Has been with the club since the age of eight and is the son of the much-travelled former Colchester, Crystal Palace and Bolton midfielder Neil Danns.

    Jarell Quansah (substitute)

    Warrington-born defender who has established himself in the first-team squad this season. The 21-year-old, who had a loan spell with Bristol Rovers last season, is a ball-playing centre-half who has come through the ranks at Liverpool after joining them at the age of five.

  • Eddie Howe says Newcastle can still make difficult season ‘very special’ Eddie Howe says Newcastle can still make difficult season ‘very special’

    Eddie Howe is confident Newcastle’s topsy-turvy season can still end on a high note as he targets FA Cup glory.

    The Magpies slipped to ninth place in the Premier League table after a dismal 4-1 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday evening, and have looked some way off the pace they set last season, when they roared to a top-four finish.

    But as they head into Tuesday night’s FA Cup fifth-round trip to Sky Bet Championship Blackburn, head coach Howe is convinced a campaign which has featured a famous Champions League victory over Paris St Germain, but also an untimely exit from Europe, could still have a happy ending.

    He said: “We are still in the throes of deciding where this season ends up. Nothing is decided for or against us.

    “I definitely want to squash that feeling that we are feeling sorry for ourselves because that has negative connotations. We need the players excited and ambitious, thinking brightly about the future.

    “This season can still be very special for us, but we have to make it happen.”

    Howe has been able to plead mitigating circumstances for much of what has happened so far this season with injuries having eaten significantly into his resources, but he was making no excuses for the horror show at the Emirates Stadium.

    Instead, he refocused on progression in the FA Cup and the task of securing a European berth for the second successive season, even if the Europa League or Europa Conference League now look more realistic options.

    He said: “Of course, qualifying for the Champions League was unbelievable last year. But if you can’t make that again, then we have to look for the next best alternative.

    “That’s what we’re trying to do, and for me, they’re (the Europa League and Conference League) realistic objectives and we’ll give everything we can to achieve it.”

    It is perhaps no coincidence that the Magpies’ difficulties have intensified since the loss of powerhouse midfielder Joelinton. He suffered a thigh tendon injury in the FA Cup third-round victory at Sunderland which is likely to sideline him for much of the remainder of the campaign.

    Howe said: “We’ve missed Joe’s qualities, especially physically, his robustness, his abilities in duels, set-plays for and against.

    “We’re very lucky to have a midfielder that’s as big as he is and as competitive as he is and whenever you lose those qualities, you notice when they’re not there.

    “He’s a very unusual midfielder, really, a prototype. You don’t get many like him and it’s certainly been missed, what he can bring.”

    The 27-year-old Brazilian has played a key role in the club’s resurgence since emerging from a miserable start to his career on Tyneside, and his future remains uncertain with a contract wrangle – his current deal expires next year – unresolved.

    Howe said: “That’s always been in my mind as an absolute priority, to try to get him to stay at the club long-term. I see that as hugely important.”

  • Andy Robertson not concerned with Liverpool using youngsters on ‘biggest stage’ Andy Robertson not concerned with Liverpool using youngsters on ‘biggest stage’

    Liverpool defender Andy Robertson rejected suggestions that throwing youngsters into the heat of a Carabao Cup final against a billion-pound Chelsea squad was a risk.

    In truth manager Jurgen Klopp had little option after his list of injured players grew to 12 when Ryan Gravenberch was carried off on a stretcher after 30 minutes of the 1-0 extra-time win at Wembley.

    He had been forced to select six youngsters on the bench – one of them, Trey Nyoni, is only 16 – with no sign of any of his absent senior stars being ready to return.

    The 19-year-old Bobby Clark was the most experienced of them, making his ninth substitute appearance, James McConnell, also 19, came on for his seventh game while 18-year-old Jayden Danns, who only made his debut as an 89th-minute substitute against Luton on Wednesday, was centre-forward for the final 33 minutes.

    When another academy graduate Jarell Quansah, who has been third-choice centre-back this season, came on in extra time Liverpool had five players – Harvey Elliott the other – aged 21 or under on the pitch.

    But their youthful exuberance injected new life into a team which, after a draining fixture in midweek, looked out for the count and that allowed them to stay in the game until the 118th minute when Virgil van Dijk headed home the only goal.

    “The academy has been put to use over the last two games, that’s for sure, but they did a tremendous job,” said Robertson after Liverpool extended their own record to 10 League Cup wins.

    “We didn’t believe it was a risk. What else are we meant to do? That was our bench and the quality they have we can see at the training ground every day. We just wanted them to express themselves and that is what we tried to help them with.

    “Credit to the academy coaches, how much hard work they have put in to produce these players, but also the experienced players and manager and coaches who have said ‘Go out and play with freedom on the biggest stage. Go and enjoy it and don’t come off with any regrets’ and I think they all did that.

    “Bobby Clark, James, they were all different class but Bobby really took the game by the scruff of the neck. He showed composure as well. It’s incredible.

    “It is about showing up on the biggest stage and they don’t get much bigger than that. Some of the lads have not even played a full game for the first team but they go on and play so well.”

    Klopp has a good record of giving youth a chance but what is equally important as opportunity is attitude and Robertson believes the club have created the perfect environment for them to flourish.

    “That comes from the coaches driving that into them and then when they come into the first team it is not allowing them to get too far ahead of themselves,” added the Scotland captain.

    “I think the squad is really good at that but also the coaches, they don’t give them too much, too soon and I think that’s key to it.

    “It also comes from their own mentality. They are all good kids who want to do well and when they have been given the opportunity you could see the excitement in them when they woke up they knew they were going to get a chance.

    “That is all you can ask from young lads; they are going to make mistakes but it is up to us to help them and they were spot on.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.