Monday 22 July 2019

Lampard set for return to Bridge as revamped Blues look for ex-factor

Frank Lampard. Photo: PA
Frank Lampard. Photo: PA

Matt Law

Frank Lampard will be assured that he will be given time to try to create a successful new chapter of his Chelsea career as head coach.

Derby County yesterday confirmed that Lampard had been given permission to complete a romantic return to Stamford Bridge after granting Chelsea permission to speak to their former midfielder.

It is expected Lampard will be offered a three-year contract worth around £4 million-a-year to succeed Maurizio Sarri, with the possibility of earning a pay rise if his first season is considered a success.

While there will be no guarantee that Lampard will be allowed to see out his contract, there is a hope that, barring the worst-case scenario of a relegation battle, he will be given at least a full season before facing any sort of assessment.

Lampard is one of Chelsea's most decorated players and their all-time leading scorer, but faces a tough task to recreate immediately that success as head coach, with the club operating under a transfer ban.

There is huge upheaval throughout the club, with a number of staff and backroom changes, which include the return of Petr Cech as technical and performance adviser.

Lampard is set to become the 12th manager of owner Roman Abramovich's reign and the first Englishman to take charge of the club since Glenn Hoddle in 1993.

It is believed there is an acceptance within the club that Lampard must be given adequate time. Not only will the 41-year-old be working in a unique set of circumstances, there is also a recognition that his achievements with the club as a player and his strong bond with the supporters dictate that he will deserve some patience.

That should be helped by the return of Cech, who will be based at Cobham with Lampard and will be used, among other things, as a link between the first-team set-up and the board.

Chelsea have indicated a willingness to pay the full £4m compensation figure to release Lampard from his Derby contract, although there may be room for that to be negotiated down.

Derby are thought to be keen to maintain a relationship with Chelsea after the successful loans of Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori.

A statement from Derby confirmed they had granted permission for Chelsea to speak to Lampard, adding: "With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs, it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions."

While negotiations with Lampard are expected to be smooth, there are several issues to be sorted out regarding his backroom staff and the club's in-house reshuffle.

Jody Morris will return to Chelsea as Lampard's assistant, with fitness coach Chris Jones also heading back, and academy coach Joe Edwards set for a promotion to the first-team coaching set-up.

Claude Makelele's appointment on to the loan staff means Eddie Newton could be given a new role.

Chelsea will allow Sarri's old coaching staff to leave, while Gianfranco Zola and Carlo Cudicini are likely to be offered the chance to stay on in new roles.

Despite initial reservations over a lack of experience, having guided Derby to the Championship play-off final during his first season in charge, Chelsea have decided Lampard is the right man to be trusted with the club's existing young players during the transfer ban.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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