Football

Derby County give manager Frank Lampard permission to speak to Chelsea

Frank Lampard's prospective return to Chelsea as the club's new manager edged closer yesterday, as Derby County said they had granted permission for the English Premier League club to conclude negotiations.

"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," Derby said in a statement.

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

Lampard is Chelsea's record goalscorer after netting 211 goals from midfield between 2001 and 2014 at Stamford Bridge, where he won three EPL titles, the Champions League and Europa League in a 13-trophy haul.

However, he has just one season's experience in management as he led Derby to the brink of a return to the top flight, only to fall short in the Championship play-off final against Aston Villa.

Chelsea have been seeking a manager since Maurizio Sarri departed to take charge of Juventus last week, reported AFP.

There has been a clamour, particularly among pundits, for Lampard to be given the Blues job, but former Arsenal striker Ian Wright believes this has been disrespectful to Derby.

He told the BBC: "(It is) so disrespectful to Derby and the Derby fans, everything I am reading with ex-players, ex-players who should know better talking about Derby like they are a non-entity in all of this.

"Frank has done brilliantly with the opportunity given to him by Derby.

"They took the gamble, and the gamble nearly worked in respect of them coming up... this is why it has been so disrespectful the way people are dismissing Derby's involvement in all of this."

Football