Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admits he tried to sign Manchester City striker Erling Haaland during his first spell at the London club.
However, Lampard has revealed that the Norwegian striker was close to a move to Stamford Bridge.
“It’s a fantastic stat from him. I know the Chelsea team is a different story. But I have a lot of respect for him as a player. He is a player that I tried to bring to Chelsea the first time I was here,” said Lampard.
“I was very keen to bring him here, obviously it couldn’t happen. His level at that point was also very clear. We played against him in a preseason game and he was fantastic.”
“Credit to him. I like to see players at that level, with that personality and hunger to play and be the best. In terms of dealing with it, you have to have a plan and an idea, but players at that level can make anything happen at any moment.”
“I’m sure the players have a good awareness of it. We have to try and be at our best to try and deny the things he does.”
“I think he’s special and I thought he would fit right in. I didn’t consider it that closely, but I thought with the level of the player, his goal record – first in Austria, for his country and then in the Bundesliga, which is not an easy league.”
Asked how close Chelsea were to signing Haaland, Lampard outlined the situation.
“He alone will know the answer to that. What stage did it reach? From our point of view I was pushing it, I’m not sure what appetite there was anywhere else at the club to do it. The competition was great to get him because he was an exceptional player.”
“I think there was a buyout clause at the time which was relatively reasonable, probably considering the player. So all these things. I don’t have enough details to say how close it was,” the Englishman concluded.