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Erling Haaland at Chelsea? Frank Lampard reveals what could have been if Blues had the transfer ‘appetite’

There may be an alternate universe where Erling Haaland once played for Chelsea, at least that is what their current caretaker manager Frank Lampard suggested on Friday. 

As Chelsea prepare to face Manchester City on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium in what might be the Premier League title clincher for City, Lampard revealed a story about the Norwegian striker in his pre-match press conference. The 44-year-old coach, who has just one win as caretaker, told reporters he pushed then-club owner Roman Abramovich to bring Haaland to Chelsea during his first stint as coach between 2019 and 2021.

“I don’t know whether he would have decided to come here anyway, but I was a big fan of that [signing Haaland]. There are some of those that happen, aren’t there, that people know about or it could have been this way. People talk a lot about mistakes or things that could have been in football. Whether he would have come here, I don’t know, but I was pushing big and on a few other players at the time. But he was the outstanding one.” 

At the time, Haaland was jumping from Molde to Red Bull Salzburg in 2019 and from Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund in 2020. Lampard is also not the first coach to voice publicly what could have been had their club landed the 6-foot-4 Norwegian. Last week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer criticized the Manchester United for not taking his advice to sign his fellow countryman in 2018.

Lampard added: “Was it close? He’ll only know the answer to that. What stage did it get to? From our point, I was certainly pushing it. I’m not sure what the appetite was everywhere else in the club to do it. The competition was big to take him because he was an outstanding player and I think there was a buyout clause at the time which was relatively reasonable, maybe, considering the player.

“I think he’s special, I thought he’d adapt straight away and show his level. I didn’t consider it that closely but with the level of player and his record of scoring, firstly in Austria, secondly for his country and in the Bundesliga, which is not an easy league. To come into a really good unit already is a recipe to really help him, and then the rest is just credit to himself and the team around him. It is not an easy hindsight answer, I’ve got real respect for the player.” 

Craving more soccer coverage? Listen below and follow House of Champions, a CBS Sports soccer podcast, bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, picks and more. 

Haaland joined City in this past summer after the English club triggered a release clause from Borussia Dortmund. In his first Premier League season, the striker scored a jaw-dropping 36 goals in 33 games (52 in all competitions) and broke the record for most goals scored in a Premier League season. Haaland can potentially win the treble with Manchester City in his first season with the club. The team coached by Pep Guardiola can win the Premier League this weekend with a win. They also play in the FA Cup final against Manchester United on June 3 and the UEFA Champions League final against Inter on June 10. You can stream the UCL final on Paramount+.

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