Chelsea are reportedly in pole position to secure the signing of Derby youngster Max Bird, a player boss Frank Lampard knows well from his time at the club.
Bird, 19, has switched between the senior side and youth team so far this season, making 29 appearances across all levels while scoring one goal and providing four assists.
He featured on eight occasions last season for the senior side while Lampard was in charge of the Rams, as the campaign ultimately ended in disappointment for them as they lost in the Championship playoff final before he moved on to return to west London.
It’s added that is just short of his £5m asking price, but it remains to be seen if it’s enough to convince Derby to sell and allow Chelsea to add another top young talent to their squad.
Although it was perhaps partly forced on him due to their transfer ban last summer, Lampard has given his young stars a chance at Stamford Bridge this season with the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Billy Gilmour all getting a shot in the first team.
He’s been rewarded with some excellent displays as Chelsea remain in fourth spot in the Premier League table with nine games to go, and so it’s arguably no surprise that they might continue to head down that path of relying on young talent.
That said, if they wish to bridge the gap between themselves and the top sides both domestically and in Europe, Lampard will surely have to also add more experienced and proven players to his squad to find the necessary balance.
He’s arguably done that with the incoming signing of Hakim Ziyech this summer, but time will tell who else arrives and whether or not the coronavirus pandemic will force them into reconsidering their budget and forecast moving forward with clubs taking a heavy financial hit during the lockdown.
That said, Bird could be a smart pick up if Chelsea are confident he has a bright future ahead of him, and few will have a better idea of whether or not that’s the case than Lampard given his ties with Derby last year.