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.
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.”
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.
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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