Chelsea are set to hold talks with Derby over making Frank Lampard their new manager following Maurizio Sarri’s impending departure to Juventus.
Lampard has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Sarri, who has been given the go-ahead to leave Stamford Bridge after a compensation package worth up to £10m was agreed with the Serie A champions.
Chelsea want to make a swift appointment now that Sarri’s situation has been resolved and Lampard looks certain to make a dream return to west London, where he played between 2001-14 and scored a club-record 211 goals.
The former England midfielder has two years remaining on his current deal at Derby, who he led to the Championship play-off final during his first season in charge.
It will cost Chelsea £4m to price the 40-year-old away from Pride Park, but that shouldn’t pose much of a problem.
Derby owner Mel Morris admitted last month that he expected Lampard to be Chelsea manager sooner rather than later even though he wanted to keep him.
He said: “I’m sure Chelsea and Frank will re-unite at some point and if that ever happened, you’d understand because that’s his club.
“One day maybe Frank will manage Chelsea, I don’t doubt that will happen at some point in the future.
“We’ve got two years left on his contract and would obviously love to retain Frank’s services, and I’ve had no indication that’s not going to be the case.”
Chelsea have considered a number of candidates with Sarri making it clear at a meeting a fortnight ago that he wanted to leave for Juventus.
But Nuno Espirito Santo and Javi Gracia will cost a lot more in compensation than Lampard to get them out of Wolves and Watford respectively, while Ajax boss Erik ten Hag looks committed to staying at the Dutch club for another season.
Chelsea have been keen on Massimiliano Allegri in previous years and he is available having left Juventus after five seasons at the helm.