Ex-Chelsea manager reveals that board ‘blocked’ his efforts to sign Jude Bellingham at bargain price
Frank Lampard reflected on his first stint as Chelsea boss during an interview with former team mate John Obi Mikel
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Jude Bellingham is quickly shaping up to be one of the signings of the summer for Real Madrid.
In 14 appearances, the 20-year-old has already scored a jaw-dropping 13 goals in all competitions - a start only matched by all-time record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo and Alfredo Di Stefano, although both of those played as a forward.
Bellingham’s goals for Madrid include a match-winning double against Barcelona, as well as late winners in the Champions League against Sporting Braga and Union Berlin. The ex-Borussia Dortmund star is also viewed as England’s standout midfielder ahead of Euro 2024, as the Three Lions chase their first piece of silverware in 58 years.
Many teams including Chelsea would love to have a player of Bellingham’s quality at their club, and they may well have seen him strutting his stuff at Stamford Bridge for just £20m - if ex-manager Frank Lampard had got his way. Lampard’s first stint as Chelsea boss ran from July 2019 to January 2021.
During his first season in the dugout, he is credited with guiding the Blues into the Champions League, despite having a transfer embargo. Furthermore, he was also able to harness the talents of young academy players such as Reece James, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori.
Chelsea’s transfer embargo was lifted during the summer of 2020 and one of the players at the top of Lampard’s wishlist was a 17-year-old Jude Bellingham. At the time, the youngster had just enjoyed an excellent debut season as a box-to-box midfielder, which saw him guide his local club to safety with four goals in 44 Championship games.
Speaking on ex-Chelsea star John Obi Mikel’s podcast, Lampard revealed he told board members that they should sign the youngster. He told the Obi One Podcast: “When I was managing at Chelsea (first time) I was desperate to bring Jude Bellingham in. But I couldn’t get it through upstairs – the idea of paying £20m for someone his age (at the time)…”
Lampard went on to instead sign the likes of Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Edourard Mendy and Thiago Silva, but the Blues struggled to emulate their first season form and the Chelsea legend was replaced midterm by Thomas Tuchel.
Bellingham was the subject of interest from Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United in 2020 and it was the German outfit who eventually won the race to sign him for around £26m.
The England international was an instant hit in Germany and was a member of the Bundesliga Team Of The Season in two of his three years with the club.