Nedum Onuoha has questioned where Anthony Gordon would “fit” in at Chelsea amid rumours of the Blues’ interest in the young playmaker.
Gordon has been the subject of plenty of transfer speculation this summer, with Spurs and Newcastle both linked.
Everton boss Frank Lampard insisted last month that the winger is “going nowhere”.
“He’s worked for it (the new squad number). You have to earn the number 10,” Lampard said.
“I understand this desire for numbers with players. I was fortunate, I kind of fell into a number eight in my career.
“I didn’t go searching for it but I understand how it can feel important to you. But I absolutely feel now, especially with the 10 because it has a little bit of magic to it, a bit of flair, and Anthony’s got that.
“He has it in his own style. I’ve said to him, I don’t want him to try and think he’s doing pirouettes on the halfway line now.
“We need him doing what he was doing last year plus goals plus assists which Anthony is so hungry to do. But he’s earned it absolutely and he’s a link to the crowd, a link to the fans, a local boy who gives everything, a great talent.
“He’s going nowhere. He’s our player and that was a hugely-important thing to me, he’s the sort of player we want to build to go forward with. I’m delighted that he’s got his number 10 but now I want him to continue to earn it.”
But Lampard’s comments have reportedly failed to quelle interest with a report on Monday claiming Chelsea have ‘tabled a £40m bid’ for the 21-year-old.
Everton are said to have rejected the offer but it’s thought £50m would be enough to convince them to part with the playmaker.
Onuoha says he can understand why Chelsea are interested as Gordon offers something different to two of their current forwards, but has reservations over whether he would play a significant role at Stamford Bridge.
“He’s a big prospect but it’s £50m for a prospect,” Onuoha told ESPN FC. “At the moment, I couldn’t put him into this Chelsea team and see where he fits.
“I’m looking at Hakim Ziyech, I’m looking at Christian Pulisic; they are technically really good players but they do not really take people on, and that’s one of Anthony Gordon’s huge strengths.
“Playing for Chelsea, where the expectation is to win every game, and if you don’t win two in a row it’s a mini crisis, I feel you need a strong mentality to deal with that pressure. I’m not sure Anthony Gordon at this moment in time is.
“He doesn’t fit in with this current style of play. [Callum Hudson-Odoi] is like another version of Anthony Gordon, and he can’t get into the team.”