Frank Lampard has admitted for the first time just how desperate he was to bring Declan Rice to Chelsea.
The Stamford Bridge legend was dismissed in January, with the Blues having slumped to ninth in the table. He was replaced by Thomas Tuchel, who has enjoyed a brilliant run of form, West Brom blip aside. Indeed, Chelsea have kept clean sheets in 13 of 16 matches since the German took charge.
They’re back in the race for the top four and also have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals. This pundit even named Chelsea as his dark horses to win the tournament.
Chelsea’s loss of form under Lampard may well have as a result of their heavy investment during the summer. The Blues bought the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech for significant sums. Yet Lampard continued to argue he would need time to intergrate them into the side.
Time though was not on his side and Lampard was shown the door.
However, now for the first time, Lampard has admitted he also wanted to sign Declan Rice from West Ham. The Blues were heavily rumoured to be chasing Rice. West Ham though dug their heels in and refused to sell. But now Lampard admits his own future may have been different had he secured his signing.
“Now you see him in the England squad and quickly you don’t see an England team without Declan in it,” he said.
“We are fortunate to have him in England, West Ham are fortunate to have him.
“He’s a leader and it is clear that he’s destined for great things. I have probably given it away with how I spoke about him but I think it’s common knowledge that I was a big fan of his.
“It didn’t happen [Chelsea signing him] for various reasons, but we brought in a lot of players in the summer.
“But I was a big fan of him. For understandable reasons, West Ham know the player that they have on their hands.
“I don’t want Declan Rice to be in an uncomfortable position through this because all I see from him is absolute performance and desire to play for West Ham.
“They gave him the chance there and the choice will be Declan’s as the years go ahead, but his performances are great to watch.”
Lampard on management return
Roman Abramovich had listed two reasons why Lampard had been sacked in an emotional Chelsea statement.
Now the former Chelsea and Derby boss admits he will return to management once he received an offer that entices him.
“It would be something I’m very keen to do in the right time and place. My eyes are always on it,” Lampard said.
“I’m always watching football and trying to get better. I’ll try and find the right time and right opportunity. I’m very keen to get working again.
“I try to. As I say, how much it consumes you when you’re in it is a big deal. You cannot take away your love of the game. I like to keep involved.”