In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Claude Makelele opens up on his move to Stamford Bridge and Trent Alexander-Arnold hails Reece James as one of the best in the Premier League.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Makelele reveals key reason behind Blues move
Claude Makelele has reflected on his move to Chelsea from Real Madrid and revealed that Manchester United were also keen on his services.
The holding midfielder joined the Blues in 2003 from the Spanish side and such was his impact in England, he became one of the select few players to have a position on the pitch named after him.
‘I went to Chelsea because they came in first,’ he told FourFourTwo.
‘After that, several other teams approached me, including Manchester United and Inter. ‘I told Chelsea, ‘’If I go, I’ll come to you.” I gave them a promise. They went to great lengths to sign me, as I was 30 but they still paid a significant transfer fee.’
Makelele spent five years with the Blues, winning the Premier League twice, two League Cups and a FA Cup.
He was part of the side that lost to United on penalties in the Champions League final and left that summer to join Paris Saint-Germain.
He has since returned to Cobham as a technical mentor for the Academy.
Liverpool star praises James
Trent Alexander-Arnold has labelled Reece James as one of the best players in the league and hailed his development through the Chelsea Academy.
The pair of right-backs are regulars for their clubs and are both in the England squad, while Alexander-Arnold has early memories of playing against James in youth competitions.
‘I remember him being really good for Chelsea youth teams and I remember watching him in the Youth Cup,’ the 21-year-old explained to the Evening Standard.
‘Chelsea is probably the hardest team to break into as a local lad and as a young English player. For him to be able to do that is a statement itself.
James was impressive in his debut campaign for the Blues last season after spending a season on loan at Wigan. This season, in a back-line that contains Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma, James has continued to impress.
‘He had shown since he came in over the last year or so that he is a good player, solid defensively and good going forward,’ said the Liverpool defender.
‘He is an all-round right-back and probably up there with some of the best in the league.’
Pundit speaks about Lampard’s idol status
Speaking on Premier League Productions and also repeated in the Metro, Lescott also named the Blues as one of the title challengers this season.
‘They are another surprise. I didn’t think Lampard would be able to harmonise his squad so early,’ the former Man City defender said.
‘I was sceptical, I thought if the owner is spending that among of money they have to be contenders. They are not spending that money to finish in the top four.
‘Obviously, Chelsea recognise what people outside may not is that most players will love Frank Lampard because he was their idol.
‘They will have a different level of respect for him. We’ve seen it with Mason Mount, the fact that he’s willing to do stuff that doesn’t come naturally in terms of work rate.
‘It’s because of Frank Lampard and the impact he has on that generation of players.’