Eden Hazard’s dream move was Real Madrid, but Frank Lampard’s Chelsea will not be a stepping-stone any longer.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Lampard sets out his blueprint to restore a Chelsea identity that was the foundation to his three Premier League titles at the club.
It starts with finding a group of players who match Lampard’s list of players who felt the club in the same way he did – John Terry, Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
I want players at this club who are not passing through, not here as a means to another move, he tells Sky Sports News.
The fans relate to passion, work ethic, players that love the badge.
‘Callum knows how I feel’
What that means for Callum Hudson-Odoi’s future is now down to the player and the club, according to Lampard.
The new Chelsea boss twice took time out to speak to Hudson-Odoi before departing for the team’s pre-season tour in Japan on Tuesday.
Hudson-Odoi, whose deal expires at the end of the coming season and remains the subject of interest from Bayern Munich, has remained behind as he recovers from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in April.
There’s two things, there’s the football side which I’m completely involved in – and then making sure the contract is signed, which I’m not, says Lampard.
So to say I’m confident would mean I know every side, I don’t, I leave that to the club. What I do know is that the club want Callum to sign.
Callum knows how I feel, I’ve spoken to him. I think he can be absolutely central to this team.
We all care for the players at this club, particularly the young players – it’s important I show that. Then the decision will be his and the club’s together.
‘I’m a realist’
Many of the 24-man Chelsea squad who have travelled to Japan have found themselves awake at 4am this week, with Lampard himself admitting he has struggled with jet-lag.
But there has been no respite for the players, with preparations continuing for Friday’s game against J League Champions Kawasaki Frontale.
Lampard wants to use every day, every minute he has with the players to hone fitness, build team spirit, look at bringing in young players and learn which formations will serve him best come the start of the Premier League.
Captain Cesar Azpilicueta has only been able to work with Lampard for barely 10 days, but the ideology is clear.
The most experienced players have to help the young players coming in, he said earlier this week. Our role is to make them feel comfortable, to let them express the quality that they have shown in the youth system.
I am convinced this is the way to move forward.
Lampard is unwilling to set a league target but says his ambition is to make his Chelsea team very competitive while operating under the added constraints of a transfer ban.
I’m a realist, he says.
One thing Lampard does promise is total commitment for those that want to be at Stamford Bridge.
The thing I’ll always be searching for is relationships with the players, he says.
I want them to be comfortable, driven. I demand that but at the same time I’m there for them.