Frank Lampard moved a step closer to being appointed Chelsea manager after Derby County granted him permission to speak to the English Premier League club about their managerial vacancy.
Chelsea is looking for a new manager after Maurizio Sarri left the club to join Serie A champion Juventus earlier this month.
“With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions,” said Derby in a statement on their website Tuesday.
The 41-year-old Lampard has been Derby manager for just over a year and led the English second tier club to the Championship playoff finals.
Lampard left Chelsea as a club legend in 2014, having scored a record 211 goals in 649 appearances over 13 seasons.
During that time he helped the Blues to three Premier League titles, the English FA Cup on four occasions and the crowning glory, the 2012 European Champions League title.
Sarri, who only joined the London club at the start of the 2018/2019 season, won the Europa League title in his last game in charge of the Blues.
He also guided Chelsea to a third-place finish in the English Premier League and qualified for next season’s Champions League.
If Lampard is appointed he will face a number of challenges in his first top-flight managerial job.
Chelsea is currently unable to sign any new players for the next two transfer windows after FIFA upheld a ban relating to its signing of foreign minor players, though the club are appealing that ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Premier League club was sanctioned after an investigation into its conduct in transferring and registering overseas players under 18.
Chelsea also recently sold Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for $113 million.