Frank Lampard has complained that Chelsea prevented him from signing Jude Bellingham during his time in charge of the club, despite him being ‘desperate’ to take the central midfielder to Stamford Bridge.
Bellingham was the subject of an intense transfer battle earlier this year as Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid were all hoping to land him. Ultimately, it was Madrid who won the race as they managed to tie him down to a six-year contract.
The Spanish giants paid Borussia Dortmund an initial £88.5million for Bellingham, and the deal could rise to a whopping £115m if certain conditions are met.
While Madrid paid a lot of money for a player who was just 19 years old when joining, they knew they were getting something special. Despite his tender age, Bellingham had already emerged as one of Dortmund’s most integral stars, while also establishing himself on the international stage with England.
And Bellingham has enjoyed an incredible start to life in Spain, having netted 13 goals in 14 matches so far. That includes a brace in the recent 2-1 victory over rivals Barcelona, with Bellingham arguably the world’s most in-form star at this moment in time.
However, things could have been far different for Bellingham. During his time at Birmingham City, he was pursued by major English clubs including Manchester United and Chelsea.
Given Lampard’s pedigree as one of the Premier League’s best-ever midfielders, he could have helped Bellingham enormously. The 45-year-old initially managed Chelsea between July 2019 and January 2021, while he also returned to the club as caretaker boss between April and June of this year.
During an appearance on John Obi Mikel’s Obi One podcast, Lampard has revealed that he was gunning to capture Bellingham for Chelsea. However, Blues chiefs prevented him from completing the deal.
Frank Lampard makes stunning Chelsea transfer claim
“When I was managing at Chelsea [the first time] I was desperate to bring Jude Bellingham in,” he said.
“But I couldn’t get it through upstairs – the idea of paying £20m for someone his age [at the time]…”
Of course, Bellingham was not as well-rounded during his time at Birmingham, but the thought of signing him for just £20m will sting Chelsea officials.
Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly was forced to pay £115m to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton in order to improve his team’s midfield. However, if Chelsea had given Lampard’s move for Bellingham the green light before that, Boehly could have saved almost £100m.
Chelsea are determined not to lose out in the hunt for another Dortmund ace, as they are reportedly preparing a ‘total offensive’ to blow Arsenal and Newcastle United away.