‘I can see him being a huge player for us’: New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard admits keeping Callum Hudson-Odoi will be top priority
- Frank Lampard is determined to keep winger Callum Hudson-Odoi at Chelsea
- The new Blues boss plans to explain to the winger that he is central to his plans
- The 18-year-old is out of contract next summer with multiple clubs interested
- The addition of Jody Morris may convince Hudson-Odoi to stay Stamford Bridge
Frank Lampard has made it clear that keeping 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi will be one of his top priorities as Chelsea manager.
Lampard is planning to sit down with the player as a matter of priority to explain that he expects him to be central to his vision at Chelsea.
Hudson-Odoi is out of contract next summer and was subject to a £35million Bayern Munich bid last January, with the Bundesliga champions having made a renewed £22m bid last month, the price reflecting his diminishing value to Chelsea as his contact runs down.
Frank Lampard says keeping Callum Hudson-Odoi will be his top priority as Chelsea boss
He is not expected to make a decision until he is back in the first team, which could be for the start of the season given his excellent recovery from surgery after the Achilles tendon injury he sustained in April.
Lampard’s approach will be a massive boost to the player, with the new manager saying: ‘Callum has all the attributes to play and make similar statements on the world scene from what we have seen with Jadon Sancho [at Borussia Dortmund] and other great players around the world.
‘I will pay a lot of care and a lot of attention to Callum to try to get him to stay, because of the contractual position that he is in. Not [with] any lies or false statements to him.
Lampard believes Hudson-Odoi should aspire to emulate the success of Jadon Sancho
‘I know what a player he is. 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 and of course that then goes to a decision between him and the club itself. I can see him being a huge player for us.’
With Lampard overseeing pre-season training in the Republic of Ireland this week, while Hudson-Odoi remains at Cobham to continue his rehabilitation after surgery, the meeting will have to wait until later this month.
Chelsea will keep the No10 shirt, vacated by Eden Hazard, free for Hudson-Odoi as a sign of their desire to make him central to plans. His deal is likely to top £100,000 a week but would be expected to rise to about £200,000 a week if he meets certain targets over the next five years.
Chelsea will keep the No 10 shirt, vacated by Eden Hazard, free for Hudson-Odoi to take up
The prospect of Hudson-Odoi leaving has some commentators despairing about the point of Chelsea’s much-exalted academy, which has only seen Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi progress to become first-team regulars in 16 years under Roman Abramovich.
Lampard, who brings in former Chelsea Under-18 manager Jody Morris as his No2, said: ‘That’s a strong reaction. But I understand that fans want to see young players coming through. They don’t want them to be leaving before you have even seen them in the first team.
‘I’m not going say things that are going to be pie in the sky. But knowing his talent, he can be central to this team — he can be central to an England team.’