Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has hired some of the world’s highest-profile managers during his 16-year reign, but relative rookie Frank Lampard is emerging as the favourite to occupy the Stamford Bridge hot seat.
With Italian Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus being imminent, club talisman Eden Hazard already departed to Real Madrid and a FIFA transfer ban looming, Chelsea have arrived at a crossroads.
Derby County boss Lampard is adored by the Chelsea faithful for his record-breaking goalscoring exploits during a trophy-laden 13 years in west London.
The ex-Chelsea player could be the ideal candidate to lead them in a new direction.
The 40-year-old earned plaudits for taking Derby into the Championship playoffs in his first year as a manager.
Lampard team side Derby missed the opportunity on promotion to Aston Villa, for whom former teammate John Terry is part of the coaching staff.
During a playing career in which he won 11 major trophies with Chelsea, Lampard always stood out as a smart cookie.
He has taken his inquisitive mind into the managerial ranks and proved a fast learner at Derby where his blueprint was an intelligent passing game and a trust in youngsters.
Three of them — Chelsea loanees Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham — were involved in the playoff final at Wembley and could all be back at Stamford Bridge next season.
With teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi having made the breakthrough under Sarri last season.
Lampard would appear the ideal choice to construct a Chelsea side based on youth, perhaps with Derby assistant and former team mate Jody Morris, alongside.