Frank Lampard admits he has wondered how his first spell in charge of Chelsea would have turned out had he been able to sign Erling Haaland.
Lampard has revealed that he wanted to sign the now Manchester City striker, who has scored the same number of league goals indvidually as Chelsea have as a team this season (36) when he was in permanent charge of the club between 2019 and 2021.
The former England midfielder was sacked by the club after 18 months in charge during his first spell and says he has wondered how his and the club’s fortunes would have turned out had he been able to bring in the prolific forward.
“I have huge respect for the player – he is a player I tried to bring to Chelsea the first time I was here,” Lampard said.
“I was really keen to get him here, obviously it couldn’t happen but his level at that point was very clear as well.
“We played against him in a pre-season game at Salzburg and he was fantastic. Credit to him, I love seeing players at that level and with that personality and hunger to be the best, which he has proved himself to be.
“I think he’s special. I thought he’d adapt straight away.
“I didn’t consider it that closely but I just think with the level of player and his record of scoring firstly in Austria, secondly for his country and then in the Bundesliga which is not an easy league, to come into a really good unit already, that’s a recipe to really help him.
“The rest is credit to himself and the team around him. I did expect that, an easy hindsight answer, I’ve just got a respect for the player.”
And asked whether he thinks about what may have happened had he signed for the Blues, Lampard added: “Yeah, I did.
“I don’t know whether he would’ve decided to come here anyway but I was a big fan of that.
“There are some of those that happen that people don’t know about or could have been this way. People talk about mistakes, whether he would have come I don’t know but I was pushing big on him and on a few other players but he was the outstanding one.
“What stage did it get to? From our point, I was pushing it.
“I’m not sure what the appetite everywhere else at the club was to do it. The competition was big because he was an outstanding player.
“I think there was a buyout clause at the time that was relatively reasonable considering the player. I don’t have enough detail to know how close it was.”
Lampard will take his side to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday knowing Manchester City could wrap up the Premier League.
The Blues interim boss will be without Benoit Badiashile, who has injured his groin in training and joins Reece James, Mason Mount, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella on the injury list.