Frank Lampard excused from Derby’s pre-season amid Chelsea talks
Derby County excused Frank Lampard from pre-season training yesterday and today, to allow the manager more time to negotiate a move to Europa League champions Chelsea.
The Championship club said in a statement that the decision was to allow the ex-England midfielder's discussions "to be concluded as soon as possible".
"On the assumption that Frank will reach an agreement with Chelsea to become their new manager, the club shall step up its efforts to find a replacement manager," Derby added.
Lampard, 41, won three English Premier League titles and the Champions League as a player at Chelsea and is favourite to replace Maurizio Sarri, who has joined Serie A champions Juventus.
He led Derby to the Championship play-off final last season, losing to Aston Villa, in his first year in management.
He is adored by the Chelsea faithful for his record-breaking scoring exploits during a trophy-laden 13 years.
Chelsea last month appointed their former goalkeeper, Petr Cech, as technical and performance adviser.
The club also appealed a transfer ban imposed by world football body Fifa for breaching rules regarding the international transfer and registration of players under 18. The ban prevents Chelsea from signing players in the close season and January transfer window next year.
They announced yesterday that Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain, who was on loan from Juventus, has left the club, along with Gary Cahill, retiring goalkeeper Rob Green, Eduardo and Kyle Scott. - REUTERS