Frank Lampard is set to hold face-to-face talks with Roman Abramovich this week as Chelsea look to clinch the legend’s shock return.
Sportsmail understands the Blues’ all-time leading goalscorer is scheduled to meet the club’s owner in the coming days to finalise his return to Stamford Bridge as manager.
The discussions are expected to take place abroad, with a location in the south of France a potential venue.
Frank Lampard is set to hold further talks as he closes in on returning to Chelsea as manager
The club’s all-time leading scorer is due to meet Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich this week
Lampard is Chelsea’s preferred candidate to lead the club next season following Maurizio Sarri’s departure to Juventus, a move that was confirmed on Sunday.
The fact Lampard and Abramovich are due to meet illustrates exactly how serious Chelsea are about appointing the 40-year-old as their next head coach.
The Blues hero has emerged as one of the brightest young British bosses in English football following an excellent first season in management at Derby.
Lampard is a Chelsea legend and should he succeed Maurizio Sarri, it would be a popular move
While there are concerns about his inexperience, his ability to coach young players is a bonus
FRANK LAMPARD’S HONOURS AT CHELSEA
Premier League x3: 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10
FA Cup x4: 2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2012
League Cup x2: 2004-05, 2006-07
Community Shield x2: 2005, 2009
Champions League: 2011-12
Europa League: 2012-13
Yet there are obvious concerns over his lack of experience given he has just one season of management under his belt.
Nevertheless, Chelsea have identified Lampard as the man to bring the feel-good factor back to Stamford Bridge following a season of disquiet from sections of the fanbase who became disillusioned with Sarri.
And Abramovich is expected to tell Lampard that he is the man they want to lead the club for the foreseeable future.
As of last night, Derby, who want £4million compensation, were still waiting on a official approach from Chelsea regarding their move for Lampard.
And owner Mel Morris has reiterated the club’s desire to keep Lampard.
Derby want to offer their manager a new contract, while there is hope of significant investment into the club this summer which could increase Lampard’s playing budget – which is currently reduced from last season.
Lampard’s assistant at Derby, Jody Morris (right), would move with him if he re-joined Chelsea
‘There’s no change in the situation at present, except for the fact that Chelsea no longer have a manager,’ Morris told Sky Sports.
‘We have made it clear to everyone, but most importantly to Frank, that we want him and to retain his services for the long term.
‘If Chelsea want to hire Frank, then it is in their gift to make an offer in pursuit of that.
‘In the meantime, we will continue to put our best foot forward to continue with our plans for the coming season, to work with Frank for him to know how much he is wanted by everyone associated with the club.’
Fans were divided during Sarri’s year in charge and a Lampard appointment would help unite
Meanwhile, former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp – Lampard’s uncle – said he’d be shocked if his nephew didn’t get the Chelsea job.
‘I think it would be a major surprise if he doesn’t get the job. It looks to me as though it will happen,’ Redknapp said on talkSPORT’s Sports Breakfast.
‘It would be brilliant for him. A shame for Derby as Mel Morris gave him the opportunity there and he’s done a great job. But it’s a great move; he’s absolutely idolised at Chelsea – a genuine legend there.
He knows the game, he knows what it’s about, he’s got a touch of class… it will be great.’