Swansea boss Paul Clement has revealed he tried to sign Frank Lampard before the former England star announced his retirement.
Lampard brought the curtain down on a distinguished playing career for club and country, in which he scored 302 goals in 1,019 appearances, on Thursday.
Chelsea’s record goalscorer also played for West Ham, Manchester City and New York City FC, as well as having a loan spell at Swansea right at the start of his career.
And Clement – who worked with Lampard when he was Chelsea’s assistant manager – said he tried to bring the 38-year-old back to south Wales following his appointment at the Liberty Stadium at the start of January.
“We had a chat. I think he appreciated that I called him because of our relationship,” Clement said.
“I am not saying it got close in any way, but we had a conversation. It did not go very far, but it would have been nice. It would have been good.
”His ability as a player we all know about. But he is also a very good leader and character and a fantastic professional.”
Lampard was sent out on loan by West Ham in October 1995 when he was just 17 years of age.
He ended up making 11 appearances for Swansea, scoring one goal, and told Clement how he enjoyed his time at a club who were then in the third tier of English football.
“I spoke to him about his time here,” Clement said. “It was a long time ago now when he was at West Ham. But he spoke really fondly of the club and the people who were here.
“It was part of his education on to going on and having such a great career.”
After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer. Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing at home and abroad, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life. I’m immensely proud of the trophies I’ve won, of representing my country over 100 times and of scoring more than 300 career goals. I have many people to thank. I thank my parents for instilling in me the values of hard work, dedication and professionalism, values which I have carried with me in everything that I do. I am forever grateful for the support of my family, my wife Christine and my two daughters Luna and Isla. What you have given me off the pitch has always been my strength on it. I love you all very much. Also, my friends and my own team that have always been there for me. I would like to thank the amazing team-mates, coaches, managers and backroom staff that I was privileged to work with. I’d also like to pay tribute to the clubs that I have represented. Firstly, West Ham United who gave me my debut in 1996. Thanks to the people there that believed in me at that young age. More recently Manchester City and NYCFC. I greatly enjoyed my last playing years at these two clubs and really appreciate the support I received from City Football Group and both clubs’ fans. Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories. I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together. It is impossible to give thanks individually to all the people that helped and supported me in my 13 years playing there. All I can say is from the day I signed until now and going forward, I’m eternally grateful for everything and to everyone. Chelsea fans gave myself and my teammates such incredible support. Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn’t have done it without them. Looking forward, I’m grateful to the FA for the opportunity to study for my coaching qualifications and I look forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens.
Swansea head to Manchester City on Sunday buoyed by winning back-to-back Premier League games for the first time this season.
Clement’s side followed up their shock 3-2 win at Liverpool by beating Southampton 2-1 at home on Tuesday night to stay two points above the relegation zone.
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the winner in both games to underline his importance to Swansea.
The Icelandic playmaker now has seven goals and seven assists this season – being involved in exactly half of Swansea’s 28 league goals.
Sigurdsson has been linked with wealthy Chinese clubs and the transfer window in China remains open until February 28.
But Clement said he was unaware of any interest in the 27-year-old and insists Sigurdsson is committed to Swansea’s survival bid.
“It was vital to keep those players and see the impact they have had,” Clement said.
“(Fernando) Llorente and Sigurdsson have been match-winners, you need to keep your best players. That is normal.
“We know there are 15 games to go with a hard game on Sunday.
“If we keep going as we are we have a big chance (of staying up) but there is a lot football to be played.
“There is a lot of hard work to do before we reach that point.”