Chelsea: Redknapp slams decision to sack Lampard
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Harry Redknapp has admitted he advised Frank Lampard to sign John Stones during his final transfer window as Chelsea boss. Lampard was dismissed by Roman Abramovich after a poor run of form had seen them slide down the Premier League table.
After navigating a transfer embargo in his first season in the Chelsea dugout, Lampard was handed huge funds to renovate the squad before the start of this season.
The Blues spent more than £200million on incomings, with much of that reserved for attacking talent.
However, Lampard was in the market for defensive reinforcements, with the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen out of favour.
Central defender Malang Sarr was signed from Nice, before instantly being loaned out to FC Porto, while Thiago Silva also arrived on a free transfer.
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But Redknapp has confirmed that he made contact with his nephew, to recommend the signing of Stones, with his Manchester City career at a crossroads.
Last season, the England international was a peripheral figure at The Etihad, making just 16 Premier League appearances.
And the former Tottenham manager felt he could have done a job for Lampard, but completed transfers meant an approach was never made.
“John Stones…what a comeback he’s made in his career,” Redknapp said, during an appearance on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday.
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“I text Frank at the start of the year to be honest – but he’d already made a signing at Chelsea – saying ‘what about John Stones?’
“I think he’s a real talent, someone just had to get hold of him and get him playing and believing in himself.
“He’s come back now and he’s the best centre-half around, he’s in fantastic form.”
Stones has started 12 of the last 14 games under Pep Guardiola, establishing an impressive partnership with Ruben Dias.
And Guardiola has been full of praise for the way that Stones has ressurected his career with the club, after a difficult season.
“What I want for my players, all of them, is to be happy,” he said earlier this month.
“He struggled to be happy here. Especially for injuries, for some personal problem and for many reasons – lack of minutes because I didn’t see him like he is right now.
“In the past he was not like he is right now, with stability, happiness, commitment and focusing.
“That’s why I give a lot of credit to him because he overcame this situation himself.
“He could have fell down, he could have even gone even more down but it was completely the opposite. He said, ‘No, I am here, I know how good I am’.
“He didn’t need my confidence. He didn’t need the words or the minutes.
“[He said] ‘I know who I am, I know I am a top central defender and I am going to show you, the Premier League, England and the world that I am good’.”
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