LONDON • English Championship club Derby County yesterday gave Premier League side Chelsea permission to speak to their manager Frank Lampard about taking over at Stamford Bridge.
The former Blues midfielder has emerged as the favourite to replace Maurizio Sarri after the Italian coach joined Serie A champions Juventus earlier this month, having won the Europa League in his sole season in charge.
"With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs, it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions," Derby said in a statement, adding that they would not comment further until it was appropriate to do so.
Lampard won three Premier League titles and the Champions League among multiple trophies in a 13-year spell with the Blues.
He led Derby to the Championship play-off final last season in his first year in management, losing 2-1 to Aston Villa at Wembley.
There is a belief among the Chelsea hierarchy that the appointment of the former England midfielder would bring back a feel-good factor, improving the match-day atmosphere and the mood around the whole club.
With Petr Cech, another former club great, returning earlier this month as their new technical and performance adviser, there is a desire to take a more long-term approach, building around younger players, particularly with a two-window transfer ban from Fifa hanging over the club.
It is understood that Derby will seek a compensation figure in the region of £4 million (S$6.8 million) if Lampard, Chelsea's record goalscorer with 211 strikes, goes.
REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON