Chelsea legend Frank Lampard moves closer to Stamford Bridge return as Derby County confirm talks

Dimitri Kondonis

Chelsea will talk to Frank Lampard about their managerial vacancy, Derby County have confirmed.

The Blues legend played at Stamford Bridge between 2001-2014, helping the club to three Premier League titles.

The former England midfielder landed his first role as a manager last summer, where he took the Derby County hot seat.

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Lampard led the Rams to the Championship play-off final, where they lost 2-1 to Aston Villa at Wembley.

And after Maurizio Sarri left Chelsea for Juventus earlier this month, Lampard was earmarked for an early return to the club where he spent the majority of his career.

A short Derby County statement read: “Derby County Football Club can confirm that they have granted permission for Chelsea Football Club to speak to Frank Lampard about the vacant managerial position at Stamford Bridge.

“With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions.

“The club will make no further comment until it is appropriate to do so.”

Spectators display a banner honouring former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in London on February 4, 2017. Former England and Chelsea midfield star Frank Lampard retired on February 2 aged 38, calling time on a playing career that will be remembered as one of the Premier League's finest. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Chelsea fans honour former midfielder Frank Lampard (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09:  (L to R) Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba celebrate with the trophy after winning the league with an 8-0 victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge on May 9, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba celebrate with the trophy in 2010 (Photo by Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Talk of Lampard’s management career attracting interest from the Chelsea hierarchy had been gathering since he took the helm at the Championship club.

One of the icons of Roman Abramovich’s era in west London, the West Ham academy product had been spoken about for a return to Stamford Bridge in the distant future once he took his development steps in management.

A promising first season with Derby, where he helped rejuvenate an ageing team with the help of Chelsea loanees Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount, ended in heartbreak.

And the Blues might have been better off allowing Lampard some further time to hone his skills but for a perfect storm surrounding the club.

John Terry, Glen Johnsen, Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele from France, from left, jubilate after winning the Champions League 2nd round 1st leg soccer  match between VfB Stuttgart and Chelsea FC in the Gottlieb-Daimler stadium in Stuttgart, southern Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)
John Terry, Glen Johnsen, Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele in 2004. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)
Chelsea's Captain John Terry (R), English midfielder Frank Lampard (2ndR), Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (C) and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba (L) show off the Barclays Premiership Trophy and FA Cup during their victory parade at Stamford Bridge, London, England, on May 16, 2010. Didier Drogba insists Chelsea's Premier League and FA Cup double triumph means this season has been the best of his career. Drogba scored the only goal of the game in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth to secure a first ever double for the west London club. AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
John Terry (R), Frank Lampard (2ndR), Petr Cech (C) and Didier Drogba (L) show off the Barclays Premiership on May 16, 2010. (AFP PHOTO/GLYN KIRK)

Manager Maurizio Sarri, unpopular with the fans despite winning the Europa League, finishing third and finishing Carabao Cup runners-up, returned to his native Italy to take up the vacancy at Serie A giants Juve.

Chelsea were also hit by a year-long transfer ban after breaching the rules relating to the signings of 29 foreign minors.

Although an appeal is in place, no freezing order has been confirmed so the Blues are planning to have their hands tied regarding signings this season.

The subsequent loss of star man Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for a fee which could reach £130million has made the vacancy at the club even less appealing for high-profile managers.

All of which means Chelsea and Lampard are seemingly set for a reunion much sooner than either planned for, provided terms can be agreed.

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