'I wanted': Lampard names the player he was absolutely delighted Chelsea managed to sign last year
Frank Lampard told Gary Neville that he certainly gave the green light for Chelsea to recruit Ben Chilwell last summer.
Speaking on The Overlap YouTube channel, Lampard confirmed that it was he who made the call on prizing the full-back from Leicester City.
Chilwell joined the Blues in a deal worth £45m (BBC), just one piece of the club’s expensive transfer puzzle following their transfer ban the previous season.
Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech were also bought for big bucks, whilst Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr were both signed as free agents.
Edouard Mendy made up the seven Stamford Bridge acquisitions made under Lampard’s stewardship.
How many of these were actually authorized by the former Chelsea boss still remains something of a mystery.
Roman Abramovich was clearly keen to stretch his financial muscles after they’d been clamped for an entire campaign.
The owner evidently wanted to land Werner and Havertz before another Premier League powerhouse disrupted the deal.
Lampard can’t have had much say in the employment of Sarr, a then 21-year-old defender who played for Nice.
He was loaned out immediately to Porto, having never met or worked with the now-departed Blues boss.
However, the legendary midfielder did verify that at least one individual was bought under his supervision.
“In terms of the signings, I was happy,” said Lampard.
“Ben Chilwell was a big one that I wanted. It was something I had actually seen as a left-back I wanted, a player of his qualities.”
Ben through the ringer
Chilwell went on to play 22 times for Lampard, scoring twice and assisting another five, before Thomas Tuchel took charge of Chelsea in January.
The England international has been on a bit of a rollercoaster with the new coach.
He was a regular fixture toward the tail end of 2020/21, but then completely lost his place to Marcos Alonso following the European Championships.
After failing to feature in any of the first six league matches, Chilwell reclaimed the left-wing back role off Alonso.
Unfortunately, a cruciate ligament injury suffered against Juventus last month could keep the 24-year-old out until at least the New Year.