Former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard recently disclosed that he had a strong desire to sign Jude Bellingham, the now-20-year-old English superstar currently plying his trade at Real Madrid, during his initial tenure at Stamford Bridge.
Jude Bellingham, who has established himself as one of the most highly valued footballers globally, joined Real Madrid in the summer for approximately £88.5 million and has impressively netted 13 goals in just 14 appearances.
Bellingham’s rise to stardom began when he made his debut for Birmingham City at the tender age of 16, quickly attracting interest from major clubs. In 2020, multiple top clubs vied for his signature before he eventually chose Borussia Dortmund.
Manchester United expressed a strong interest in acquiring Bellingham and even provided him with a tour of their facilities. However, the midfielder’s decision to move to Germany proved to be the right one, as he has since made over 130 appearances for Dortmund.
However, the course of Bellingham’s career could have taken a different trajectory if Chelsea had heeded Frank Lampard’s recommendation. Although the Blues did not publicly announce their interest, Lampard has revealed that he identified the young star as a potential target during his time at Cobham.
Lampard, in an interview with the Obi One Podcast, stated: “When I was managing at Chelsea, I was eager to bring Jude Bellingham on board. However, I couldn’t secure the deal with the club’s hierarchy, especially the notion of paying £20 million for someone of his age [at the time]…”
This is not the first time Lampard has publicly expressed regret over a significant transfer that didn’t come to fruition at Chelsea. In the previous season, the former Chelsea midfielder also revealed his desire to sign Erling Haaland while he was playing for Red Bull Salzburg.
During his time at Everton, Lampard said: “He is an incredible player, and top-level players typically demonstrate their abilities in high-level leagues. I coached against him in a preseason game when he was playing for Salzburg. I tried to sign him for Chelsea, but it didn’t work out.”
Looking back at these missed opportunities at Chelsea, it’s intriguing to imagine what might have been. In the current football landscape, Bellingham is valued at €200 million (£173.9 million) by the CIES Football Observatory, while Haaland shares the highest valuation, alongside Vinicius Junior, at €250 million (£217.4 million).