Frank Lampard tried and failed to bring “amazing” striker Erling Haaland to Chelsea during his time as the Blues’ manager.
Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm since signing for Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund in June.
The Norway international became the fastest player to score 20 Premier League goals with his double in City’s 3-1 win over Leeds United on Wednesday, doing so in just 14 games, seven less than previous record-holder Kevin Phillips.
A home game against strugglers Everton, who lost 2-1 to Wolves thanks to a late Rayan Ait-Nouri goal on Boxing Day, should provide Haaland with an ideal opportunity to cap 2022 off on a high note.
Now manager of Everton, Lampard recalled trying to sign Haaland for Chelsea during his spell as their boss between 2019 and 2021.
Lampard told reporters: “He is an amazing player and the ultimate top-level players generally can do what he does in a top-level league.
“With a player of that talent, of course at any moment they can hurt you.
“I coached against him in a pre-season game when he was playing for Salzburg. I tried to sign him for Chelsea and it was not to be.
That’s 20 league goals scored in just 14 games for @ErlingHaaland
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 29, 2022
“It was clear in our pre-match preparation what this boy was. Fair play to him.
“We are going against him and I respect those at the top of their game. I watched the World Cup final with [Kylian] Mbappe and [Lionel] Messi, and Haaland has got himself in that bracket at a very young age.”
Everton will be hoping to have their own number nine fit to feature at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with Lampard confirming Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be in his squad to take on the champions.
Calvert-Lewin’s injury issues from last season have persisted, with the 25-year-old managing just six appearances this term.
“We’ve gone into a season where we’ve lost Richarlison and haven’t really had Dominic, barring a few games,” said Lampard, whose team have scored only 12 league goals this season, 31 fewer than City’s tally of 43.
“We haven’t had him, but not for the want of trying. It’s injury. When you lose that firepower it might not be easy to replace in terms of pure goals and output.
“Having Dominic back in the fold is a great thing for us because players who can make the difference at the top end of the pitch like that mean points. It’s as simple as that.
“We’ll look and see what we can do in the January window to see what options we can have to start a game, change a game from the bench. We’re looking at lots of players.”
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