Chelsea set to make approach for Frank Lampard
Derby are understood to be braced for Chelsea to make contact
Chelsea are expected to seek talks with Derby over a deal to install Frank Lampard as the next Blues manager.
Derby are understood to be braced for Chelsea to make contact, with Lampard the front-runner to replace Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.
Juventus are poised to confirm Sarri as their new boss on a three-year deal, with Chelsea having secured a compensation package it is understood could rise as high as £10million.
Lampard notched a club-record 211 goals in a stellar Chelsea career from 2001 to 2014, and racked up 106 caps for England.
The 40-year-old has had just one year in management, but steered Derby to the Championship play-offs in his sole campaign.
Lampard’s assistant Jody Morris could also make a return to his former club, to bolster the Blues’ backroom staff.
Derby could hold out for £4million to hand Chelsea the green light for talks with Lampard, but the Blues would likely be unfazed given their impressive return on the severance package with Juventus over Sarri.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is expected to return to the club in a technical director role too, which would prove popular with the fans and a good fit given the Czech stopper was long-term team-mates with Lampard.
Chelsea have appealed their two-window transfer ban with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but crucially have not asked for a freezing of that embargo pending the hearing, which is yet to be scheduled.
Lampard spent some time behind the scenes at Chelsea when completing his coaching badges, so still retains detailed knowledge of the Stamford Bridge set-up.
The goal-scoring midfielder would be well placed to work with Chelsea’s crop of talented youngsters then, who would likely be handed extra first-team chances should that transfer ban be enforced.
Former Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle – the last Englishman to serve as a permanent manager of the west Londoners – feels the current situation at Stamford Bridge could mean it is the “right time” for Lampard to step into the dugout.
Hoddle, who was in charge of the Blues from 1993 to 1996, initially as player-manager, told BBC Sport: “I can see Frank managing Chelsea Football Club at some stage in his career. I don’t believe that you are too young or it is too early. It might be the right time for him.
“I just feel that (with) Chelsea at this moment in time, there is a bit of a crossroads with what is going on off the pitch and on the pitch.
“(Eden) Hazard has gone, if the transfer embargo is there for two windows, it is going to be a real balancing act, and a really experienced manager would find it difficult.”
Hoddle added: “I was offered the England job at an early age, and you always think in the back of your mind ‘will that opportunity ever come back round again?’, so Frank would think like that if he is offered that (Chelsea) job, I am sure.”
Former Napoli boss Sarri led Chelsea to the Europa League title, a third-place Premier League finish and the Carabao Cup final in his only season at Chelsea.
The former investment banker failed to win over the Chelsea fans however, who were frustrated by his regimented tactics and his apparent early reluctance to hand central roles to homegrown talents Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Juventus believe Sarri’s taskmaster approach will prove the perfect follow-up after Massimiliano Allegri’s departure.
Allegri had appeared on the initial list of candidates to replace Sarri at Chelsea, but has now insisted he will take a break from management, effectively ruling himself out of the Stamford Bridge running.
Cristiano Ronaldo is understood to have given his blessing for Sarri to succeed Allegri at Juventus.
The Portugal star appeared to look favourably on the way in which Sarri tried to build his Chelsea team around Eden Hazard, and considers the 60-year-old’s tactics well suited to Serie A.