• Mount’s unhappiness over Havertz signing – Lampard

    Frank Lampard has strongly refuted claims the £70 million ($89m) signing of Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen has unsettled homegrown star Mason Mount.

    The England international played 53 matches last season, more than any other Chelsea player, but the arrival of another attacking midfielder in a huge summer of spending was said to have unsettled him.

    Indeed, Mount’s father, Tony, has already come out and denied German reports describing him as unsettled. Lampard reaffirmed his trust in Mount but did say that the new signings were a signal to his players to raise their levels to stay in the team.

    ‘I saw the story about Mason Mount and I know it was absolutely fabricated from someone, particularly if it came from the German end,’ Lampard said at a Zoom press conference ahead of the new season. ‘I am not sure if he has any relatives out there or friends he can talk to, but it was a strange angle for that to have come from Mason.

    ‘What I do know is with the young players who have got into the team, and the way football is at a club like Chelsea, if you are a young player who has a foot in and the club bring in a player who you hope raises levels, then the player should, and hopefully will raise their levels and everybody improves.

    ‘I will be fair on how I pick the team. I won’t pick the team on whether you came from the academy, I will pick the team on how I think it should be picked every week, how they train and how they have been performing.

    ‘Everybody should be positive going into the season, training as well as they can and then worry about the unity of the squad and how we go as a team.’

    Havertz began training with Chelsea immediately after completing his move last Friday that fell just short of the club’s transfer record which remains the £72m ($93m) paid to Athletic Club for Kepa Arrizabalaga.

    Germany allowed their young star to cut short international duty to train with Chelsea ahead of the new season and he is in contention to start against Brighton on Monday evening. Lampard says the versatile Havertz will compete for lots of roles in the squad and is happy to play anywhere to help the team.

    ‘Kai with his qualities is flexible to play in different positions, I haven’t changed my view in a few days of seeing him,’ Lampard continued. ‘I think we can use his versatility. One of the pluses, when I spoke to Kai, is that he is very comfortable.

    ‘He is not that “I want to play in this position; this is all I want”. He is potentially very happy to help the team; he can give us quality in different areas so it is not one that we have to nail down.’

    Along with Havertz, Chelsea have signed Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech and PSG defender Thiago Silva.

    They are now looking to complete a move for Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy with talks ongoing, while Jurgen Klopp has spoken about the large sums being paid in west London for transfers amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

    Lampard admits that he will be under more pressure this season but is only willing to target closing of the gap between his side and Liverpool, who finished 33 points ahead of the Blues in the league last season.

    ‘No matter what goes on at the club, there will always be pressures,’ Lampard added. ‘I thrive off those pressures and I enjoy them. I understand the different nature of pressure coming this year. It is why I love doing it.

    ‘I didn’t come into this job to fight for fourth place, although I know last year that it was an achievement and one of the goals that we set out to. I didn’t come in just to bring academy players into the first-team and say I made debuts for this many players; I came here to win.

    ‘Any club at our level has to try and tick the major boxes and recruitment is a huge part of that. Last year we weren’t able to recruit in a big way. I wasn’t able to bring in players I felt might be helpful for the way I wanted to go and the style I wanted to play.

    ‘This year, I have been able to have some impact on that. But the club has, more importantly, being able to make decisions to bring in players. It changes the landscape, yes, but I am excited by that as much as feeling the pressure. I am ready to go and work.’

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