Frank Lampard reveals he pushed hard for Chelsea to sign Erling Haaland in 2019
Frank Lampard revealed he had been “pushing big” in an unsuccessful attempt to sign Erling Haaland for Chelsea during his first spell as manager in 2019.
Now Lampard, marking time as interim manager until the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino is confirmed, is likely to receive further confirmation of how big a miss that was.
Haaland has netted 36 Premier League goals this season – the same as Chelsea’s entire team. As a result the Norwegian could be celebrating winning the title after Manchester City host Lampard’s side on Saturday. Or, if Arsenal slip up at Nottingham Forest, before it.
When Roman Abramovich owned the London club, Lampard wanted to trigger a £17million release clause that led to the striker joining Borussia Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg in December 2019.
“What stage did it get to? From our point, I was pushing it,” he said. “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. There was a buyout clause at the time that was relatively reasonable, considering the player.
“I don’t know whether he would’ve decided to come here anyway. People talk about mistakes, whether he would have come I don’t know, but I was pushing big.”
Haaland played against Chelsea in a friendly in Austria in July 2019 that ended 5-3 to Lampard’s side. He played the first 45 minutes and did not score.
“We prepped and watched Salzburg, and we were struck by the player,” Lampard recalled. “He’s quite striking anyway because of his stature and size and in that year, he scored a lot of goals at Salzburg.
“A player like that, it’s not really hard to scout him. The recruitment at that point was not so much my job every week. It was the department to do that and he was a clear player of interest.
“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.”
Lampard confirmed Chelsea will give the City players a guard of honour should the title be concluded by Sunday. He also revealed he wants his squad to understand why they were so many points adrift.
“The trophy lift is something to be respectful of,” he said. “Understanding why they are lifting it is another.”