Lampard says he told Chelsea to sign Haaland before he joined Man City
The Chelsea manager says he was a big fan of Haaland long before he joined Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard tried to persuade his club to sign Erling Haaland before the Manchester City star established himself as the world's most feared striker.
The 22-year-old has enjoyed an incredible season with 52 goals in all competitions, including a record 36 in the Premier League.
Lampard got a glimpse of Haaland's potential during his first spell in charge of Chelsea when his team faced the young Norwegian in a pre-season friendly while he was playing for RB Salzburg in 2019.
Haaland scored 28 goals in 22 matches that season, but stiff competition for his signature, combined with the fact that not everybody at Chelsea was convinced about him, meant Lampard was left frustrated.
Haaland eventually signed for Borussia Dortmund in 2020 and moved to City two years later after shining in the Bundesliga.
"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," Lampard told reporters on Friday.
"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," he indicated.
"I think he's special, I thought he'd adapt straight away just because of his level," Lampard expressed.
Haaland has scored as many times in the league this season as the entire Chelsea squad. While City are chasing a treble, Lampard's team is languishing in 11th place.
"I don't know whether he would have decided to come here anyway but I was a big fan," the Chelsea interim boss said.
"I was pushing big. 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."