Report: Chelsea eyeing up the new Frank Lampard but will have to break their club-record to get him
Mention of Frank Lampard will send a bolt of nostalgia and warmth down the spine of any Chelsea supporter.
The greatest goal scorer in the club’s history, provider of unrivalled memories, a true Stamford Bridge icon.
Few have matched the midfielder’s achievements in football; it’s unlikely we’ll ever witness another Lampard.
But are Chelsea really closing in on finding the heir to their legendary no.8’s throne?
Eurosport reported yesterday that the Blues still had eyes firmly fixed on Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
Bellingham has been linked to the Champions League holders before, but it now seems the interest is resurfacing.
Chelsea’s midfield is currently under investigation as to whether they need a revamp or not.
A few names have been mentioned as part of this potential reshuffle, including Declan Rice and Aurelien Tchouameni.
Newer to the party is Bellingham, who could cost the Blues £100m (Eurosport), a few more shillings than they shipped out for club-record recruit, Romelu Lukaku.
Special One’s special verdict
So where does Lampard come into the picture?
“And while it’s very dangerous to compare players — especially when you compare them with top, top performers — I do think Bellingham has something of Frank Lampard about him,” wrote Jose Mourinho, shortly before England embarked on their European Championship journey.
“Lampard shoots ten times, he scores nine goals, he always hits the target.
“But this kid is also capable of scoring from outside the box.
“He defends well as a midfield player but then he has the potential to be offensive.
“I like him very much. He is a box-to-box player, that old-school profile.”
If anyone has the right to make a judgment on Lampard’s successor, it is Mourinho.
The pair worked and won almost everything together whilst conquering for Chelsea.
Lampard arguably had his finest year in football under the Portuguese’s stewardship.
Between 2004 and 2005, he was named FWA Footballer of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season, PFA Fans’ Player of the Year and finished runner up in the Ballon d’Or.
Not to mention being heralded as Chelsea and England’s Player of the Year.
So Mourinho is no novice when it comes to all things Super Frank.
But how accurate are the likenesses between Lampard and Bellingham?
There are obvious ones: both are English, both are/ were midfielders.
Both exploit the space between the boxes excellently, not content on roaming around in one position all match.
Yet, after that, the similarities become slightly vaguer.
Contrasting Lampard’s goals record to any midfielder is unfair, but it’s clear Bellingham has some way to reach those summits.
Luckily for the former Birmingham City boy, he has decades ahead of him to refine this skill.
What the Dortmund starlet does have over his fellow Brit is the art of dribbling.
Silky smooth in possession, the teenager has a touch of velvet.
Not that Lampard was heavy-footed; close control was just not always in his remit.
But how does Bellingham feel about this resemblance?
“I’m the first Jude Bellingham and I don’t want to be compared to Gerrard or Lampard,” he said last August.
“They were undoubtedly great players. But I have different qualities, I’m a different player and a different person.”
Bellingham doesn’t want it, Mourinho thinks he can, but will Bellingham eventually step into Lampard’s shoes? Chelsea certainly wouldn’t complain.