During his previous tenure as head coach of Chelsea, Frank Lampard has disclosed that he made an attempt to bring Erling Haaland to the club.
At that time, Haaland, who has impressively scored 52 goals in 49 games across all competitions for Manchester City this season, was playing for Borussia Dortmund. Numerous Premier League clubs and other teams in Europe were strongly linked with the Norwegian sensation, who was captivating the Bundesliga with his extraordinary goal-scoring prowess.
However, it was Manchester City who ultimately secured his signature, and their faith in Haaland has been rewarded as he propelled them towards a potential treble this season. With just three victories away, City are on the verge of winning the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the Champions League, thanks in part to Haaland’s record-breaking performances in British football.
Astoundingly, Haaland has netted 36 goals in the Premier League alone this season, accomplishing this feat in just 33 games. To put it into perspective, that’s one goal more than Chelsea’s entire squad managed in three additional matches. When Lampard was asked about this statistic, he acknowledged Haaland’s achievement but preferred not to dwell on it. He then revealed that he had made an effort to sign the Norwegian international during his first stint at Chelsea a few years ago.
Lampard said, “It’s a fantastic stat from him. I understand that it’s a different story for Chelsea. However, I have immense respect for him as a player. He’s someone I tried to bring to Chelsea when I was here before.”
He continued, “I was really eager to have him here, but unfortunately, it couldn’t happen. His quality was evident even back then. We faced him in a pre-season match, and he was outstanding. Credit to him. I admire players at that level who possess the hunger and personality to excel. When it comes to dealing with him, you need to have a plan and an idea, but players of his caliber can create magic at any given moment. I’m sure our players are well aware of him. We have to be at our best to minimize his impact.”
Lampard was also asked if there was anyone he played alongside during his own career that he could compare Haaland to. While acknowledging Chelsea’s history of brilliant strikers, Lampard stated that Haaland and club icon Didier Drogba are two distinct individuals who made significant contributions to their respective clubs at different points in time.
“I cannot compare him to Didier because they are two different individuals at different moments with their clubs,” Lampard explained. “But as someone associated with Chelsea, Didier had a long-lasting impact. Haaland has just begun, and his instant impact is a tremendous credit to him. Coming directly to the Premier League, some had doubts, and he has proven himself from the start. Didier achieved remarkable things for this club over an extended period. There’s no direct comparison, but they are both great strikers.”
Lampard expressed his belief in Haaland’s abilities and his expectation that the striker would adapt quickly to the Premier League. He highlighted Haaland’s impressive goal-scoring record in Austria, for his national team, and in the challenging Bundesliga. Lampard also acknowledged that joining a strong unit like Manchester City further facilitated Haaland’s seamless transition. He commended Haaland’s personal qualities and the support of his team.
Regarding the potential signing of Haaland by Chelsea, Lampard admitted he doesn’t know if the player would have chosen to join the club regardless. He mentioned that sometimes there are undisclosed negotiations that occur, and while he was enthusiastic about the prospect of signing Haaland, he wasn’t privy to the full details or the level of interest from the club as a whole.
When asked about how close Chelsea came to signing Haaland, Lampard did not provide specific information, suggesting that only Haaland himself would know the answer. He mentioned that he pushed for the signing from Chelsea’s perspective, but there were no guarantees that Haaland would have accepted their offer, considering the significant competition for his services. Lampard acknowledged the presence of a buyout clause at the time, which was relatively reasonable given the player’s caliber, but he lacked sufficient details to determine the extent of the negotiations.