Manchester - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has admitted that he regrets not signing Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard earlier in his career.
Lampard visits Old Trafford with Chelsea later on Sunday, when he will be bidding to score a club record-equalling 202nd goal for the London side.
The 34-year-old is reportedly close to agreeing a new contract with Chelsea, having been linked with United earlier in the season, and Ferguson says he once considered making an offer for Lampard when he was still at West Ham United.
"Lampard has been unbelievable," said Ferguson, in comments reported in several British media outlets on Sunday.
"I don't think a midfield player will be able to do that figure (of goals) again. It's quite phenomenal.
"Like (former United captain) Bryan Robson, he has had a great knack of timing his runs into the box at the right time. John Wark was another one at Ipswich.
"The other things is I can't remember Lampard ever being injured. When he's not been playing, it's because they thought he was past it.
"The guy has had a great career. I must say we looked at him when he was at West Ham as a young player and I maybe regret not having done it. Where else could I get 200 goals?"