London: Derby Country have given Chelsea permission to speak to their current manager Frank Lampard about the possibility of taking over at Stamford Bridge, the Championship club said on Tuesday.
Lampard has emerged as the favourite to replace Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea, after the Italian joined Serie A champions Juventus earlier this month.
“With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions,” Derby said in a statement, adding they would not comment further until it was appropriate to do so.
Lampard is Chelsea's record goalscorer after netting 211 goals from midfield between 2001 and 2014 at Stamford Bridge, where he won three Premier League 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 Premier League, only to fall short in the Championship playoff final against Aston Villa.
In response to Sarri's sour relationship with the Chelsea supporters, owner Roman Abramovich has turned to a fan favourite to ease the Londoners through what could be a difficult season of transition.
Chelsea are unlikely to be able to make any signings this summer as they are serving a two-window transfer ban from Ffa.
And their best player of recent times has also departed after Eden Hazard completed a 100 million euro move to Real Madrid.