Frank Lampard has reiterated his desire to keep Anthony Gordon but admitted the Everton forward’s future will be decided on both a football and business level.
Everton, who are close to signing attacking midfielder Mohammed Kudus from Ajax, rejected a bid of around £45m from Chelsea for the 21-year-old on Monday and maintain the academy graduate is not for sale. “We are not looking at it as ‘Where can we go with this deal?’” insisted Lampard, who also acknowledged it would be naive to guarantee Gordon will still be an Everton player after the transfer deadline.
The Everton manager was adamant Gordon was going nowhere when Tottenham and Newcastle inquired about his availability earlier this summer and it remains to be seen whether Chelsea return with an improved offer that tests the resolve at Goodison Park. But Lampard, who has named Gordon in his squad for Saturday’s home game against Nottingham Forest, conceded the boyhood Evertonian’s future will also be influenced by cold business logic.
When asked if he would have the final decision on whether to keep or sell the England under-21 international, Lampard replied: “It has to be a joined-up say so. When you’re talking about the level of player Anthony is and the value of the player, we know what those kind of players go for in the modern day if there was ever to be these sort of transfers.
“It’s a serious situation on a football level and a club business level, simple as that. If you can join those two up and make the right decision, I will always consider the football one the most important because that is what my job will be judged on. Anthony Gordon is a fantastic player for us and that is why my answer is what it is.” Gordon has not pushed for a move to Chelsea and represents the kind of talent, and character, that Lampard wants to construct a team around at Everton. “I did it at Chelsea,” the manager said. “I brought loads of young players into the team and now they want to take one of my young players. Maybe there is the irony of it.
“The reality is, if you play at a high level as Anthony did last season, there may be interest. But Anthony is still a young man, not finding his way exactly as he is in the team now, but he will have ambitions to improve parts of his game this year, international ambitions, all those things.
“That will come for Anthony so I think it is understandable that people may be interested in players like that, that’s the way the world works. But I am here as an ambitious young coach myself, so I want to be able to have the best, strongest team and personnel available because I get judged on that. Every coach does. Fortunately, at times you will be as good as your players and Anthony Gordon is a very good player.”
Dele Alli is also in the squad for the Forest match despite being told Everton will not stand in his way should he wish to join Besiktas. The 26-year-old has made little impact since his move from Spurs in January and Everton are due to pay a £10m instalment on his transfer fee after 20 appearances. Alli has so far made 13 appearances for Lampard’s team, but only one start.
Everton have had mixed fortunes in the transfer market so far but expect to sign Kudus on loan with a view to a permanent deal. The 22-year-old Ghana international can operate in the No 10 role. The club have reinforced defensively with James Tarkowski and Conor Coady and beat several teams to the £33m signing of Belgium international midfielder Amadou Onana.
The search for a much-needed striker remains ongoing, however, while a deal for Idrissa Gana Gueye has stalled and long-time target Morgan Gibbs-White has joined Forest. Everton are understood to have failed in a last-minute attempt to hijack his move to the City Ground. Lampard said: “We were well aware of him, he is a very good player, but Nottingham Forest have come in and done the deal so end of story.”
Chelsea have several players who remain of interest to their former manager including the striker Armando Broja and the midfielder Billy Gilmour. But Lampard insists any move for a Chelsea player is not dependent on Gordon leaving for Stamford Bridge. “They are separate conversations,” the Everton manager said. “I know the Chelsea players very well. I’ve got one loan left to use for the UK and it is not just Chelsea we are looking in that area for.”