Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, has revealed that he would do everything within his power to convince Ghanaian-born English international, Callum Hudson-Odoi to stay at Stamford Bridge as talk of a potential move to Bayern Munich continue to spiral on.
The 18-year-old was frustrated by not having enough opportunities under Maurizio Sarri last season, and tried to force his way out of the club by handing in a transfer request with 18 months left on his contract.
However, Lampard, following his appointment as Blues’ manager last week, has expressed his desire to keep the ‘fantastic’ forward, stating that the Chelsea Academy product would be a ‘central’ part of his plans to succeed at The Bridge.
‘I have seen Callum come through and he is a fantastic talent,’ Lampard said. ‘We all know that and I will speak to him and I want him to stay.
‘I know the club want him to stay and for me, he is going to be central for us on the pitch and that is the opportunity that is really in front of him now, certainly from where I am sitting. So that is something I will speak to him about and I hope he stays.
‘When I say he is going to be central to it, there are things as a young player that he will want to improve and there are things through natural development that will improve, so I am not going to say things that are pie in the sky but with his talent, he can be central to this team.
‘He can be central to England, so I am going to say I want to work with him, I want to drive him forward and I want to improve him as a player.
‘He can show, right here at Chelsea- the team he came through the Academy at- that he is going to be a world-class player because I truly believe that.’
Lampard also made it clear that he understood the Chelsea faithful’s unhappiness that the club has been unable to tie Hudson-Odoi down to a new contract, and promised to address the issue.
‘I will pay a lot of care and attention to Callum, because of the contractual position he is in, to try to get him to stay and not with any lies or any false statements to him,’ Lampard went on.
‘I know what a player he is and I think he can be an incredible player and he has improvement to make and I want to work with him to do it, but for that he needs to stay longer at the club.
‘That of course goes to a decision between him and the club and I am not involved in the financial negotiations, but I can certainly tell him how I see it and I see him being a huge player for us.
‘Before Callum got injured you could certainly see opportunities he was having to play. He was playing well and showing more than glimpses of the player that he is, not just for Chelsea but for England, and that is what he needs to know.
The Chelsea legend however spoke of the need for patience, and advised the youngster not to be too bothered by the progress other young players like Jadon Sancho were making, referencing his own struggles in trying to break into the West Ham first team as a young player.
‘I remember being 17, 18 or 19, and I wasn’t as good as Callum at that age without a doubt, but I was frustrated because Harry Redknapp didn’t play me [at West Ham] and I wanted to play, and that is part of breaking through into the first team.
‘I remember seeing Nigel Quashie playing for QPR. Jody Morris was playing for Chelsea, and I wasn’t at West Ham at that age. Those things if you have the right attitude are good competition.
‘I don’t think at 18 you should get too worried, I can say that now I am 41 and I can look back and say it was probably good for me to see that because it drove me on.
‘Callum has all the attributes to play and make similar statements on the world scene as we are seeing with Sancho and other great players around the world, and that will be when I speak to him what I will tell him he can do at Chelsea.’