Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard says David Luiz did not go on strike in order to force through a Deadline Day move to Arsenal.
Arsenal completed the signing of Luiz on a two-year deal for a fee of £8m after he indicated he wanted to leave the club. The Brazilian centre-back trained away from the rest of the squad on Wednesday and some reports suggested he had gone on strike in order to secure a transfer, but Lampard insists that wasn’t the case. “There certainly weren’t any strikes, so I’ll make that clear straight away,” the Chelsea boss said. “We had some conversations over the last week, honest conversations because I know David well and I think the conclusion of that was that he moved on.
“The day David didn’t train was a decision that I made because we were in the middle of this, we were talking and it was quite clear which way it was going, but that was not a decision as a punishment or because there was a strike, it was just what worked for that day. “It’s an area of the pitch where I have competition, there’s going to be competition there throughout the year and people will need to make that shirt their own. I don’t have ones, twos and threes and that’s what everyone has to understand and that will be the same everywhere.” Lampard was appointed as Chelsea’s new head coach on a three-year contract in July, completing a move back to his former club as the permanent successor to Maurizio Sarri.
The former Derby boss scored 211 goals in 648 games as a player at Chelsea, and his first competitive match in charge comes on Sunday in the Premier League against Manchester United at Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports. “I always enjoyed playing at Old Trafford. It’s an incredible stadium, incredible history and always a difficult match no matter what year or what team you went up against,” he said. “We’re both (Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) in similar stages in a way. People will talk about Ole and now I think it’s his real chance to make a stamp on that team with a window and a pre-season behind him and I’m trying to make a stamp here so it makes for a competitive match.”
Callum Hudson-Odoi update
Lampard also confirmed Chelsea remain in talks with Callum Hudson-Odoi over a new contract. The 18-year-old has been out of action since rupturing his Achilles in April, but Lampard says he is back in training and is hopeful he will sign a new deal. “On Callum there’s not [any news on a new contract]. The club’s talking [to him] and we want him to stay, I want him to stay. We hope Callum stays, simple as that,” he said. “The better news is that he’s working hard on his fitness and he’s back out on the pitch, so from my point of view that’s the really good news and of course as a club we’d like that to be long-term.”