Derby grant Lampard permission to speak to Chelsea

Derby County manager Frank Lampard appears to be closing in on an emotional return to Chelsea.

Chelsea have been granted permission to speak to Derby County manager Frank Lampard with a view to appointing the former Blues midfielder as Maurizio Sarri’s replacement at Stamford Bridge.

The 41-year-old spent 13 years as a Chelsea player, winning 11 major honours, and has been consistently linked with the vacancy at his former club since it became clear Sarri was set to leave.

Former Napoli boss Sarri returned to Serie A to take charge of Juventus earlier this month after a single season in London, with Chelsea finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Europa League.

Derby became the first club of Lampard’s managerial career when he was appointed on a three-year contract in May 2018.

He guided the Rams into the Championship play-off final, where they lost 2-1 to Aston Villa, but his achievements in an impressive first season in management were enough to convince Chelsea he has a bright future ahead of him.

Lampard scored a club-record 211 goals for Chelsea, while only three players have made more appearances for them.