Chelsea have met with Frank Lampard to discuss the manager’s role at Stamford Bridge as Juventus prepare to announce the appointment of Maurizio Sarri as their new coach.
Derby County head coach Lampard has long been considered a front-runner to replace Sarri and, despite the Europa League winners having assessed several options during a search led by director Marina Granovskaia on behalf of owner Roman Abramovich, their legendary midfielder continues to be a leading candidate.
The Blues will not stand in Sarri’s way of returning to Serie A, with the Italian keen to move to Turin after beating Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final last month in what is likely to be his final match in charge.
Sarri is in line for a salary increase from €5.6 million per year to around €7m per season when he joins Juventus, while Chelsea are requesting £5m to buy out their manager from his contract.
Both Chelsea and Juventus are hoping to make the announcements by the end of the week.
Ajax’s Erik ten Hag has also been considered for a role but he is cautious about signing on at Stamford Bridge due to the transfer ban that is currently in place.
Massimiliano Allegri, who is being replaced by Sarri at Juventus and is currently out of work, holds similar concerns to Ten Hag regarding Chelsea, and has also told those close to him that he is ready to take up to a year out of management.
Current Newcastle United manager and former Blues caretaker boss Rafael Benitez has been linked with a shock return to Stamford Bridge by reports in Italy, but he is not a realistic candidate.
Watford continue to plan for the future with Javi Gracia, who is not a leading candidate for Chelsea, while Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and former Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc are in the mix. Blanc was the back-up option last summer when talks to sign Sarri from Napoli proved difficult before ultimately being concluded.
The Football Association, meanwhile, had been expected England’s assistant manager Steve Holland to have been installed as Chelsea caretaker manager in January and February when Sarri appeared close to the sack before saving his job with a turnaround in results.
There will also be further announcements at Stamford Bridge as Petr Cech is set to return in a behind-the-scenes role at the club. He will take some of the responsibility from Chelsea’s former technical director Michael Emenalo who departed west London in November 2017 and was never replaced.
Granovskaia will retain control over transfers, but Cech will add football knowledge to the discussion and link up with the academy.
Cech would be just the latest in a series of returns for legendary players, with Gianfranco Zola, Joe Cole, Paulo Ferreira and Didier Drogba all currently having varied roles within the club.